7 Compelling Compact 1911 9mm Pistols for Concealed Carry

courtesy Jason Bayne

A compact 1911 9mm is actually an ideal carry gun. You get a timeless, classic design with a wealth of aftermarket accessories, parts and support. You get the excellent ergonomics, accuracy and shooting characteristics that the semi-auto 1911 platform is known for, but with tamer recoil and the increased capacity of the 9mm round.

Let’s say a person wanted to switch to a compact 1911 9mm pistol for daily carry. There are a wealth of options out there, but here are seven such self-defense guns well worth the look.

Granted, there are many more out there. If you feel there’s a different model that you own or think is worth picking up, sound off in the comments! If you feel like trolling, sound off in the comments too! If sometimes you feel like a nut, grab an Almond Joy and sound off in the comments. If you don’t, Mounds are disgusting.

courtesy mfr

First is, well, the first. The Colt Lightweight Commander. Back in the day, the US Army wanted a lighter, more compact sidearm for officers so Colt chopped the full size Government frame and – a couple of years later – offered a model with an aluminum alloy frame for easier packing. Unloaded weight is less than 30 oz, which was outstanding for the day.

Barrel length is reduced to 4.25 inches and overall length to 7.75 inches. The modern iteration adds Novak rear sights, upswept beavertail grip safety, skeletonized hammer and trigger and a tactical manual safety for easier operation.

G10 panels adorn the grips, but it goes for the rather princely sum of $999 MSRP. (More like $900 in stores.) That’s a tad steep, but the LWC is one of the better production guns Colt makes, as they polish up the Series 80 trigger a bit for this gun.

If you’re not a prancing pony fan, Springfield Armory offers a few excellent compact 1911 9mm pistols, too.

Dan Z for TTAG

The EMP series of compact 1911 pistols are sized for the 9mm round instead of .45 ACP. You can choose the standard EMP (with a 3-in barrel) or one of two 4-in barrel models, one standard and one – the Concealed Carry Contour model – with a bobbed mainspring housing. All models carry 9+1 of 9mm.

The EMP has a slightly shorter action and ever-so-slightly shorter grip from front to back. All three models feature combat rear Novak ramp sights and a fiber optic front sight, as well as beavertail grip safeties, ambi safety levers, skeletonized hammers and triggers and other improvements. However, the EMP series will cost you; the cheapest model starts at $1,104 MSRP.

courtesy mfr

If that’s a bit too steep, they also make the Range Officer Compact,. It’s basically a CCO model (officer frame, commander slide and barrel) with a 5-in grip and 4-in barrel. The ROC has all the same improvements of the EMP series, but ditches the ambi safeties in lieu of a left-side-only thumb safety. You lose one round of capacity, but that’s fixable with aftermarket magazines. MSRP is $924, but ROCs can be found in stores for closer to $750 without too much issue.

Let’s say, however, that you don’t mind spending a bit of cash. Short of buying a Wilson Combat, Ed Brown or Les Baer ($3000+) the go-to is, without doubt, Dan Wesson. Dan Wesson 1911 pistols are second-to-none in terms of quality, as they get upward of 90 percent of the same work that goes into the aforementioned custom guns at half (or less) the price.

courtesy Jason Bayne

Dan Wesson makes multiple compact 1911 9mm pistols. The “entry level” models would be the Vigil Commander. The Vigil series are simple but elegant, with combat sights (steel rear, night sight front) with skeleton hammers and triggers, beavertail grip safeties and 25 lpi checkering on the front and rear of the grip.

Gorgeous wood panels adorn the grips, and a left-side tactical safety completes the controls. The heel of the grip is gently rounded for easier concealment. While the price is steep at $1298 MSRP, other makers are – I promise you – charging you extra for the name on the slide. With DW pistols, you’re paying for the work and if you ever handle or shoot one, you WILL notice the difference.

courtesy mfr

If you prefer something along the lines of a sub-compact, Colt still makes an Officer frame, the Colt Defender, which replaced the New Agent as the officer frame in the lineup.

A 3-inch barrel and shortened slide brings overall length to a compact 6.75 inches, and the grip is shortened to 5 inches. Capacity is reduced to 8+1, which isn’t stellar, but the specs are in line with other single-stack 9mm subcompacts. You also get Novak sights, beavertail grip safety, and skeleton hammer and trigger. MSRP is a tad steep at $1,000.

courtesy mfr

However, if the Colt isn’t what your’e looking for, Smith & Wesson happens to make a dynamite Officer frame in the Performance Center SW1911 Pro Series 9mm. It features much of the same goodies as the Colt (specs are broadly the same) but comes in a black finish rather than blued.

The Performance Center also rounds the heel of the grip, adds a full-length guide rod, an oversized external extractor and ambi safety levers. The price tag climbs to $1,330 but closer to $1100 is more like it in-store…and having shot one, I would pay for it over the Colt.

But let’s say you wanted a budget model. After all, most of these guns are on the expensive side and there’s nothing wrong with a working-class gun.

courtesy mfr

Rock Island Armory makes some of the best budget guns in the 1911 family (they make pretty good ammo too!) and their compact 9mm model is the TAC Ultra CS in 9mm. It’s an Officer frame with a 3.5-in barrel, with a fully railed dust cover for mounting a laser or light.

A Series 70 firing system ensures a crisp trigger pull, with a skeletonized K-style bar trigger and skeletonized hammer, upswept beavertail safety with a fiber optic front sight and combat rear ramp. G10 grips adorn the lower frame, and all for $786 MSRP…kinda hard to beat.

comments

  1. avatar D says:

    “A compact 1911 9mm is actually an ideal carry gun. You get a timeless, classic design”

    A 1911 is NOT an ideal carry gun. The for same size and weight you can get a design that’s not over 100 years old, is more reliable, less ammo finicky and offers much higher capacity.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      The reliability myth rears its ugly head again. You can put multiple 100s of rounds through these pistols without failure. If I need more than a couple of magazines I will bring an AR and a couple of buddies with.

      The safety is a bigger issue. Most trainers don’t know how to use them. You are supposed ride the safety when you draw the pistol. That’s why it’s so big. Same for the BHP. I agree that most people won’t bother to learn or will not be taught correctly.

      1. avatar Rob says:

        Yes 100’s of rounds. Whereas a modern, more reliable pistol, such as a Sig or Glock will go 1000’s of rounds without an issue.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          So how many rounds do you expect use in a DGU?

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          That’s 100s of rounds without cleaning. When you clean the pistol the round count gets reset to zero.

        3. avatar Rob says:

          I don’t expect to use more than 8-18 rounds in any given DGU. But you never know.

          And even a few hundred without malfunction and then a cleaning isn’t that impressive.
          Your firearm should not need a cleaning regimen that intensive to keep the MTBF down.

        4. avatar tdiinva says:

          Let me translate your response into plain English for you. “I agree that there is no difference in practical reliability between modern pistols and I am too lazy to ensure my defensive gun is maintained properly.”

          You should clean and lubricate your carry gun on a regular basis. If you have no need to clean your gun then you don’t practice.

        5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          You do know that before the US Army accepted the 1911 (in 1911), the test the applying pistols had to pass was to fire 6,000 rounds of ammo, with stoppage only every 1,000 rounds to allow the exemplars to cool off. The other pistol designs either did not pass the 6,000 round final acceptance test, or failed earlier tests.

          The Colt/Browning design was what passed that 6,000 round test.

      2. avatar GDMF says:

        Ride the safety, but do NOT disengage until you are on target ready to shoot. Come off target, safety goes back on EVERY time.

        One reason I do not recommend 1911s or guns designed around a manual safety anymore is specifically because so many are sloppy with the safety’s use.

      3. avatar Rangifer says:

        I agree with @tdiinva completely. The 1911 is 100% reliable, accurate and very easy to use and carry. I’ve daily carried a 9mm EMP for over a decade. As it’s the pistol I carry, it’s also the one I train with, having seen thousand round weekends for CQB/Under 21 feet classes, practical shooting courses and shoothouses. I have an estimated 11000 rounds through it with 3 recoil spring replacements and one mainspring replacement. Apart from basic maintenance, it has run like a top and will continue to do so, presumably forever. Like any tool, you take care of it and it will take care of you.

        It requires more training than a Glock however. No, it’s not point and shoot. You need to learn how to run the safety. I’ve been “corrected” by instructors before who have no clue that 1911 shooters need a high thumb grip to run everything correctly. I invite them to shoot mine with their Plastic Fantastic grip and they quickly realize they need to shut up, as they have no clue about running the 1911 platform.

    2. avatar George Reed says:

      What are “D”, 15 years old?

    3. avatar geo says:

      What are you “D”, 15 years old?

    4. avatar GDMF says:

      1911 reliability is very dependent on choice of gun and the magazines used – perhaps more so than most other platforms.

      Ammo finickiness is a non-issue because no one would carry ammo they have not vetted to perform reliably in their carry pistol, right? Right?! 😉

      For me, capacity is the biggest concern. I personally do not carry any gun with a capacity of less than 10+1. I live in a metro area, though, so multiple attackers is a very real concern.

      I also find other guns provide a better weight to capacity ratio for carry.

    5. avatar Busterdog says:

      Tdinnva, I clean and maintain my EDC pistol regularly even if I don’t use it. I don’t go by any arbitrary round count to decide when to clean it. Like all my guns revolvers, pistols or rifles, I clean everything even if it only fired one round. But my EDC whether fired or not gets cleaned and lubricated weekly.

  2. avatar Hoyden says:

    +1 for EMPC3. Bobtail or go home with a rip in your shirt from the sharp angle of a regular grip. I’ve stated here before, it is the most comfortable gripped pisto I’ve ever owned, and very accurate for its barrel length. No problems that sometimes pop up with a .45 JMB design rejiggered for Georg Luger.

    IF BUYING FROM SA MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE MAKING A DEAL WITH SATAN, we hear and herewith acknowledge your feelings.

    On the budget side, I might recommend Metro Arms Commander. Quality build, no slide rattle, I’ve stated before; close your eyes (figuratively) and you can’t tell Metro from SA Range Officer.

  3. avatar EWTHeckman says:

    …one of two 4-in barrel models, one standard and one – the Concealed Carry Contour model – with a bobbed mainspring housing. All models carry 9+1 of 9mm.

    Correction: The standard EMP4 is 10+1. (I oughta know. That’s what I carry. It’s an excellent pistol.)

    I do wish there was a reasonably priced double-stack 9mm 1911. The Wilson EDC X9 looks fantastic, but it’s well North of my budget.

    1. avatar No_Ones_Home says:

      >>>I do wish there was a reasonably priced double-stack 9mm 1911.

      Not sure what ‘reasonably priced’ would be. Rock Island Armory has their ‘TAC Ultra FS HC – 9mm’. 17 round double-stack. MSRP is listed at $906. A few on-line places are listing it around $750.

      Rock Island Armory also has double-stack 1911’s for .40, .45 and 10mm listed on their website.

      1. avatar EWTHeckman says:

        That seems to be their only double-stack 1911 in 9mm. It’s also quite the beast at more than a pound heavier than the EMP 4 LWC and 1.25 longer. It doesn’t seem well suited to concealed carry.

        Surprisingly, the Wilson is 2 ounces lighter, though almost certainly slightly thicker.

        It looked like Para was about to come out with an appropriate one just before they were swallowed by Big Green. Hopefully Remington will recover from their big suckage to get that one out (and do it right). At this point it doesn’t look promising.

  4. avatar Binder says:

    Why makes a single action with grip and thumb safeties a good choice for carry?

    There are other small all metal 9mm firarms that are a better choice. The compact CZ 75s and clones and the Kahr K9 for starts.

    1. avatar Mark H says:

      CZ doesn’t make a single stack. And the RAMI is DA/SA instead of SA.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        da/ sa with safety is sa with second strike.

        1. avatar Defens says:

          But I’m not aware of any trainers that teach to drop the hammer a second time on a dud round. You do a failure to fire drill and move on. Second strike is not bad, just irrelevant.

        2. avatar Hoyden says:

          Kahr=projectile vomiting of rounds from released mag.

        3. avatar Binder says:

          Some of us old people have been shooting and carrying Kahrs for so long we are not willing to give up all that muscle memory for the latest 9mm carry gun.

          You can compensate for the magazines popping rounds (hint, don’t carry them lose in the pocket).

        4. avatar Mark H says:

          No it’s SA with a stupid long take-up.

          I really wish someone made an SAO conversion for my CZ P-07

        5. avatar Busterdog says:

          If it doesn’t fire the first time, get it the hell outta there. What’s the point on worrying about a 25 cent 9mm round? Mind boggling…

        6. avatar Busterdog says:

          Binder, I’m old and I wouldn’t even consider carrying a polymer pistol such as a Kahr.

        7. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          the single action trigger for the p07/ 09 from cajun gun works completely disables the da function.

      2. avatar TheBruteSquad says:

        Until CZ makes a single stack RAMI or better availability on the RAMI D the Rock Island Baby Rock is my cc.

  5. avatar GS650G says:

    Far too pretty and expensive to lose in a DGU.

    1. avatar Gadsden says:

      Well I mean that’s why there’s rock island. Buy a crate of em and wave them goodbye after each DGU.

    2. avatar Rad Man says:

      You hand over your backup Ruger LC9 and keep your jewel. Who’ll know the difference?

      1. avatar BlazinTheAmazin says:

        This is surely sarcasm, but for anyone who thought otherwise… DON’T DO THIS.

        1. avatar Rad Man says:

          Obviously. Still, you have to wonder if anyone would know the difference.

        2. avatar GDMF says:

          No, please do this so we have some more entertaining news stories to read. 😉

    3. avatar Busterdog says:

      GS650G, that’s what you have concealed carry insurance for. Mine will immediately replace my carry gun in the event of confiscation for evidence purposes. Plus bail you out of jail and pay up to $1 million dollars of legal defense when some liberal gun hating State’s Attorney decides to try to prosecute you and violate your RIGHTS.

  6. avatar Yarbles says:

    G43 or P365.

    1911 FULL SIZE.

    ‘Nuff said.

  7. avatar GreatOne99 says:

    Concealed carry options are like butt holes, everyone’s got one.. I carry a Glock 19 issued by the department , but off duty I carry a Dan Wesson ECO 9mm with a Wilson Combat extended mag, unless I’m in shorts then a Kimber Micro 9. If you train with a 1911 you will become proficient with it as if you trained with a Glock.. the key is training and rounds down range.

    1. avatar Binder says:

      Have you ever trained with not getting a good grip on the gun.

      I was running drills with a Kahr K9. Coming out of the holster I totally messed up hand placement. Sill had a good control, so sight, target and bang. I was too high. Slide took a chunk out of my thumb web. Still finished the string, but I was getting blood all over the range floor.

      Went back and played with various hand placement and draws on my 1911. Came to the conclusion that a grip safety is not something I ever want on a carry gun. Each to his own, but play around with non optimal draws sometime.

    2. avatar GDMF says:

      I have to wonder why you’d choose to carry a gun off duty with a different manual of arms than the one you carry on duty.

      At best that is extra thought and effort you’d have to expend should you need to use your gun. At worst it is a recipe for failure under stress. Many who do the mix and match carry do so because, deep down, they either don’t expect to have to use their gun or they have a rose-colored view of how a self-defense encounter would play out for them. Not saying that is YOU… just saying it would seem to make more sense to stay consistent with whatever you carry.

      I’m not trying to criticize – just sharing what I have seen happen with other experienced shooters and LEO friends. I have seen this issue cost people 10’s of seconds on range drills under conditions of relatively minimal stress. I shudder to think of what it might cost them in a real life encounter!

      Just food for thought…

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        does your screen name start with sds?
        it is a shame that some are forced to carry the unfamiliar.

        1. avatar GDMF says:

          I certainly understand having no choice in what you issued for duty – there are actually legal and liability reasons for that in many states.

          You also have to train and demonstrate a certain level of competence to carry a gun on duty. Why you would make it harder on yourself when carrying off duty by choosing to carry something that operates differently than the gun you *must* be proficient with?

          People who have not been in an armed encounter tend to vastly overestimate how much warning they will have and how much time, thought and effort they will have to devote to the use of the gun. Ideally you should not expend *any* effort on employing the tools – your focus should be 100% on solving the problem. I have not seen many who have trained to that level with guns that operate differently and, honestly, it seems pretty pointless to do that, anyway … unless battlefield pickups are legitimately part of your job.

          I have and appreciate many different types of guns but I have a strict approach to serious use guns because the stakes are serious. 😉

  8. avatar Robert Royster says:

    After owning a Rock Island Armory 1911 FS in .45 with the ambi safety, great gun and I love it, the Rock Tac Ultra CS would be my 1st choice.

  9. avatar Mark H says:

    Why oh why does DW insist on putting an ugly SS bushing on an otherwise beautiful firearm?

  10. avatar Trampled Under Foot says:

    As you were. I say again. 1911 is meant to be .45 ACP. 38 Super if you are unfortunate to live in certain Latin American countries. 9mm in a 1911 is just plain stupid. You want a single action 9mm? That’s what a Browning Hi-Power is for. And you get the ammo capacity you guys seem so dependent on.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      love those too; very different triggers.
      sig will design a p365 type mag for a diminufied 9mm 1911, just wait.
      a proper cz can run like a hipower with second strike capability.
      i like these lil’ 9mm jobs. the full size should be 10mm.

      1. avatar Trampled Under Foot says:

        You’re right. Very different triggers, but look those many years ago I sent mine through Novack’s shop and got rid of that stupid magazine disconnect to. Still different, but a lot better.

        1. avatar Trampled Under Foot says:

          Lo. Damn spell check.

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          hammer drift done. way nicer with that thing removed.

    2. avatar Darkstar says:

      Greasy slicked-down
      Groovy leather trim
      I like the way ya hold the road
      Mama, it ain’t no sin

      Great screen name, agree with the Hi-Power comment.

    3. avatar tdiinva says:

      For many years my 9mm carry option was a BHP but once it went out of production I put it away and bought an EMP/4″ CC. It is an excellent substitute. In theory the FS-92/M-9 is a good substitute but the DA/SA and the frame mounted safety make it a non starter for an experienced 1911 user.

    4. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I don’t understand the 9×19 movement in 1911’s.

      Want a 9mm 1911 so you get higher velocities and higher mag capacities? OK, I get that.

      That’s what .38 Super is for.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        my interest in that arena exists only because some of these have been engineered to be smaller.
        i would like full size, but it will be in 10mm.

      2. avatar El Duderino says:

        I don’t get it either. It’s big, heavy, and you’re shooting a cartridge smaller than what it was designed for.

        Maybe in 9×23 Win…if that cartridge ever becomes even mildly popular. Or 9×25 Dillon…if you want to sear the eyebrows off the perp too.

      3. avatar Rangifer says:

        Yeah, except training ammo and classes will cost an absolute *mint* or you have to reload your own. 9mm is an excellent round for the 1911 platform and it can take +P with it’s fully supported chamber, unlike some tupperware guns out there.

  11. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    which model does sti consider their std?
    as long as the trigger doesn’t have five point stars. sod that’d be cool.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      (star o’ dave).

      1. avatar EWTHeckman says:

        But only 8+1 in 9MM? I think the Staccato-P looks interesting, if a bit spendy.

        https://stiguns.com/product-lineup/staccato-p/

  12. avatar 22winmag says:

    No mention of the SIG P938?

    That alone is enough to make the author and the whole article.

    1. avatar 22winmag says:

      No mention of the SIG P938?

      That alone is enough to make the author and the whole article SUSPECT.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      The 938, Kimber Micro 9 and the new Springfield 911)9mm are 1911 patterned pistols but the aren’t true 1911s.

      1. Exactly. While I didn’t ask Sam, I’m sure he’d say that’s why the P938 isn’t on this list. It’s a great 9mm with a 1911-ish manual of arms. But it isn’t a 1911.

  13. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Ive put thousands of 9mm rounds through a variety of 9mm 1911s.
    My current go to gun is the RIA Tac -II in 9mm.
    Best bang for the buck out there of any 9mm 1911 Ive ever fired. Period.
    I have its twin in 45acp and its cousin in 10MM. Also RIA guns.
    Ive tossed everything else 1911 I own, sans a Sig P938 which is what I carry when I don’t want to carry a gun.
    Obviously I have nothing bad to say about RIA 1911s. Nothing. Except they are a tad Ugly. As in beat up a bit and I don’t mind.

    1. avatar MouseGun says:

      I think it was Oscar Wilde who said something along the lines of, “pretty is pretty, but only ugly can be beautiful.”

  14. avatar Defens says:

    I’m a fan of the Para PDA, myself. Compact gun, with Para’s LDA trigger. All the benefits of 1911 ergonomics and SA trigger, with a little added safety thrown in.

  15. avatar Don from CT says:

    About 5 years ago, I was in a 1911 groove. I was preparing to send my Colt Lightweight Officers ACP off to Wilson Combat to have some work done on it. I’d talked to the nice folks at WC and we figured I should count on spending $1900 or so getting to where I wanted it.

    As I was taking out from the back of the safe, getting ready to ship it off, I noticed my Glock 19. It was sitting next to the OACP on my bench. Out of curiosity, I put the OACP on top of the Glock. They were about the same size, with the Glock being a bit smaller. HMM.

    That piqued my interest. So I loaded the OACP up with 8 rounds of .45 ACP and the Glock with 16 rounds of 9mm and weighed each of them. The Glock was lighter. (I don’t remember the exact weight but it would be easy enough to find out. )

    I also knew that I shot the Glock a heck of a lot better. The recoil of the .45 into the tiny OACP was something that took more time to recover from than the 9mm out of the Glock.

    So I started thinking. I’ve got $475 into the Glock. The OACP is worth $900 and I’m about to spend another $1900 making it useful and reliable, for a total of $2800.

    hmm. And the Glock holds 16 rounds to the OACP’s 8 rounds.

    It was at that time I realized that while I love, and I mean LOVE the 1911. I’d rather carry a Glock. Yes, it felt really nice, pride of ownership and all that, when I carried $4000 Nighthawk Custom Talon 2 lightweight Bobtail. But as a carry gun, its really a tool. Something that you may need to write off.

    So I stopped packing up the OACP, and did two things. I put an ad in Gunbroker for the OACP and got my $900 for it. I also bought a Crossbreed Supertuck holster for the G19. I haven’t looked back since.

    1. avatar Kevin Stadden says:

      Agreed. I love shooting 1911s but I carry Glocks. I view 1911s the same way as I view old muscle cars. Yeah they’re great and all, but I don’t want one as a daily driver.

      1. avatar GDMF says:

        Same here – a nice 1911 is a beautiful thing. Just not so practical anymore IMO.

    2. avatar Busterdog says:

      Don from CT. Maybe you should re-read the article. It clearly mentions 1911 several times. Nobody cares about your opinion of Glock or any other polymer pistol. The article is about 1911 style pistols.

    3. avatar JC says:

      DonfromCt- Glock19 with a 15 round mag is the cats ass! But…unless magazines were registered with the state prior to march 2013, it’s a no- no. ( except for Leo, nuclear guards and DMV employees…) Yes?

  16. avatar Larry Kegley says:

    The Sig P938 is not on your list! It is the top of my list, it is the most reliable, why buy anything else. You do understand the reliable is good when defending yourself

    1. avatar Jeremy says:

      Just carried my 3913 all day today in a Clinger holster, love that gun

      1. avatar BCE56 says:

        The smallest .45 ACP 1911 I’d carry is an Officer-size pistol, a 9mm maybe a bit smaller. The 3913 and the Kimber Compact share similar dimensions.
        The 3913 is noticeably lighter than the steel-framed Kimber. Bulk is of more concern than weight for concealment and I prefer heavier .45s for controllability. I can get a full grip on both pistols. The 3913 can be safely carried hammer down with a loaded chamber. Capacity is 8 + 1 vs. 7 + 1 in the Kimber, so firepower is about a toss-up.

        Still, I like the looks of those Dan Wessons…

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          Chip McCormick mags raise the capacity of the Kimber (or any 1911) to 8+1.

        2. avatar BCE56 says:

          @ Mark N-
          Note I was comparing the 3913 to my Officer-size Kimber Compact which has a shorter grip frame than a Gov’t Model or Commander 1911. Mags supplied with the Kimber accommodate 7 rds and appear identical to the shorter CMC spares I purchased with the pistol.
          This makes sense as Chip’s design influence is visible on the Kimber.
          FWIW these mags have functioned flawlessly in the Kimber, as do 7 and 8-rd CMC and MecGar mags used in my full size 1911s. (The short ones of course will not work in those pistols.)

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The S&W 2nd and 3rd gen semi-autos are very good quality pistols.

      1. avatar BCE56 says:

        I agree. I didn’t miss them until they were discontinued.
        I grabbed a used one, just in time- prices are on the rise. Mine seems to prefer 124gr pills but feeds everything
        It’s a keeper.

  17. avatar possum says:

    .I really like the 1911 platform but if I were to choose a 9 mm it would not be a 1911

  18. avatar wrongway says:

    Golly…if not a 1911 how can we possibly get along without a grip safety?

  19. avatar Grant. says:

    No Kimber Micro 9? It’s on my hip right now, fantastic pistol.

  20. avatar Greg says:

    EMP CC is what I carry. Better than any plastic bullet hose.

  21. avatar Busterdog says:

    Funny how they “over looked” anything from Kimber (any of the Carry 2 models) and any of the offerings from Sig Sauer (P-226, P-229, P-938 etc.). All of which will out shoot anything on this list except possibly the Dan Wesson, and of better quality than any Colt, S&W, and certainly of Springfield, and Rock Island ever dreamed of producing. Just another bogus list that I’ve become accustomed to on this site.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I have a Kimber ProCarry II (in .45). I don’t recall that they make it in 9 mm, which is what this article is about. In any event, I have a Pro Carry II with a 4″ barrel, and even though it weighs in at a relatively light 28 oz (unloaded) for a 1911, I have never ever carried it. I put 1400 rounds through it and a new Wolff spring before it became reliable, I don’t like getting poked in the ribs by the heel, and it just doesn’t disappear so you forget you even have it like my 16 oz Kahr does.

      And by the way, Kahr makes all steel/steel and aluminum guns as well as polymer ones. They are significantly more expensive, but you do get two or three mags and a hexagonally rifled barrel.

  22. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    I am tired of hearing the same old bullshit about the 1911. The gun was never designed to use expanding bullets and it must be throat-ed just right to do so and the magazines must also be of the newer type. Original 1911 era magazines will not even work with truncated lead bullets. Try it some time if you do not believe me.

    The 1911 is made of steel and is a very dreadnought heavy and totally uncomfortable pistol to carry all day. Now this may sound strange coming from a person who loathes and hates plastic pistols but the truth that I hate to admit is that the cheap plastic pistols are light in weight and their frames do not rust from body sweat either. Yes if you ever want to sell a plastic pistol you will practically have to give it away compared to the much better investment of a 1911 but we are speaking of using a plastic gun as a carry piece not a collectors item.

    Today’s modern plastic and stamped sheet metal budget guns were designed to feed expanding ammo and most do it very well, the same cannot be said even of a tricked out 1911. No 1911 made is as reliable as some of the well designed modern pistols when shooting exotic ash tray shaped expanding bullets and they are often way cheaper to buy. I never owned a 1911 of any make that fed as well as some of the more modern designed pistols.

    If you are loaded with wheel barrels full of cash and want a high end “snob appeal” gun then buy a tricked out 1911. If you want a more comfortable and practical and reliable every day carry gun that is going to get all beat up carrying it, have the finish wore off holstering it every day, be carried in all kinds of horrific weather from down pours to snow storms to global warming humid heat waves the 1911 is not for you or anyone else. Sergeant York is dead and gone and the gargantuan dreadnought 1911 is for nostalgic WWII recreations not for today’s practical every day carry needs.

    1. avatar Busterdog says:

      Do you actually believe the 1911 design has remained exactly the same as it was when it was originally made in 1911? With the myriad of manufacturers that have made it over the last 108 years? With the improvement in metallurgy alone it has more than kept up in quality with anything manufactured today. Now if you’re complaint is about the grip angle, what other grip angle is superior to a 1911? Be specific because I’d be interested to hear your opinion. The advent of Polymer pistols is for one thing and one thing only. It was designed for ease and cheapness in manufacturing due to the lack of the talented well trained workforce that existed before the 1980’s. As far as rust and corrosion from EDC, with the finishes on the frame and slides today I don’t understand your logic. Every important part on your typical polymer pistol is exactly the same as any all metal pistol. And holster wear is exactly the same on both. So what’s your argument again to support the purchase a cheaply made disposable polymer gun. All guns will fail if not properly taken care of, it’s just when properly cared for all metal guns will last for many generations, while polymer guns will merely last for years at best before it turns into a sticky glob of goo.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Yes, my Kimber had “issues” (returning fully to battery) until I got a new recoil spring, but it has never had any problem feeding any JHP that I’ve put through it. It cost $700 NIB, $30 for a McCormick mag, and $10 for the new recoil spring. No fancy smithing to get it to run right.

    3. avatar possum says:

      , besides the over penatration issue the.45 is big enough with out the hollow point.. ..How’s this sound,? with advanced bullet technology, and powders, the .30 Luger is just as good as a 9mm Luger, which is just as good as a .45

    4. avatar FlamencoD says:

      There’s this metal called aluminum. Much lighter than steel. Many conceal carry type 9mm 1911 frames are made of it. My Commander sized 1911 weighs 28 oz with an empty magazine. Sure, it’s still a few oz heavier than most similarly sized polymer guns, but once you add ammo they are very similar in weight since the double stacks hold more rounds. Also, most if not all 9mm 1911s have fully supported feed ramps. The design has been refined and improved upon since 1911.

    5. avatar GDMF says:

      The 1911 legacy can be a powerfully intoxicating thing, to the point that some lose touch with reason and reality. Same can be said for revolvers…

      I believe a clear line should be drawn between collecting guns and equipping one’s self for defense or duty. Collect whatever you like – literally, whatever YOU like – but when it comes to a carry gun, pragmatism should rule the day.

  23. avatar FlamencoD says:

    No Kimber 9mm 1911? Sort of surprised. They have a nice selection and my Pro Carry II two tone 9mm has been awesome (after break in). Nice looking gun and a great out of the box trigger, tight tolerances and good build quality. Better than other manufacturers in similar price point. Nice and smooth operation as well. Haven’t compared it to the higher end makers. I do wish I had one with a bevel cut / rounded heel in the main spring housing for carrying concealed. That would carry even better I would imagine. Although I conceal my Kimber fairly well in a leather IWB holster. But overall, very glad I have my Kimber as a carry option.

  24. avatar raptor jesus says:

    I’ve had a Rock Tac Ultra CS 9mm – AWESOME gun.
    I’ve had a Rock Tac Ultra FS .45 – AWESOME gun.

    You honestly cannot beat the Rocks for the price and performance – and their price on the street is nowhere near MSRP.

    I kind of love their rough finish and low price, because, if you’re gonna carry it, you don’t give a damn. Some of the higher end 1911s are just too nice to risk being confiscated or scuffed by reholstering every day.

  25. avatar Aaron says:

    I really enjoy shooting 1911’s and their derivatives, and 1903’s, too. And even Ruby’s, which 90 or 100 years ago were the poor man’s 1903.

    but for EDC, striker fired polymer guns make more sense. For one thing, they are cheaper and therefore kinda disposable. For another, they just work. Maybe not quite as smoothly as a 1911, but more ammo insensitive and have fewer parts.

  26. avatar Rangifer says:

    I hear complaints about the cost of a 1911 (even in 9mm) but if you’re actually using it, the $$ you spend on ammo will far outweigh the cost of the gun. I’ve got about 11000 rounds thru my 1911 EMP, and at my cost of reloading (12.5¢/round), I’ve spent, at minimum, $1350 on ammo. The EMP ran $900 when I bought it (2008) so I’ve already got $450 more into ammo than the gun itself. Add in the training classes I’ve taken it to and costs would bloom to $2000-2500. The cost of the firearm is potentially the cheapest part of the whole affair…

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