By Paul Rackley, Editor
John Moses Browning introduced the 1911 more than 100 years ago. While this pistol has its detractors, few deny it revolutionized the gun world. It also has its proponents, especially since it is still one of the most popular handguns available. One of the biggest complaints about this pistol today, though, is its caliber. While some shooters love the .45 ACP, it is too much for some shooters. So, it is probably good that manufacturers now produce more 1911 9mm pistols than ever.
Paired with the 9mm chambering, the 1911 offers several benefits to shooters. The first, and probably the most popular, benefit is recoil. The steel frame and ergonomics of the 1911 manages .45 ACP recoil fairly well, so dropping down to 9mm makes felt recoil quite comfortable. This is even true when using an aluminum frame 1911; the felt recoil is still very manageable for most shooters. A 9mm 1911 also holds two to three more rounds than a .45, providing four to six additional rounds if carrying a spare magazine; more firepower is good in a situation.
Finally, ammunition technology has advanced to the point where the 9mm is an excellent self-defense round. Sure, the .45 ACP is still bigger and more powerful, but the 9mm provides excellent ballistics. In fact, numerous law enforcement agencies have returned to the 9mm, including the F.B.I.
While the .45 ACP 1911 will probably remain king for a while longer, many shooters have started dropping down a little with a 9mm version. Because of this, most 1911 manufacturers produce at least one 9mm 1911, with some offering this caliber in multiple models. Even better, many of these pistols are quite affordable.
As the original maker of the 1911, Colt continues its long history of producing high-quality guns for shooters. The Colt Commander proves this to be true with its steel frame and slide, stainless-steel barrel and Novak sights. While the extra weight provided by steel helps reduce recoil already, Colt also uses a Dual Spring Recoil System to reduce recoil even more. Because of this, the gun is very pleasant to shoot; it’s just a little heavier to carry. The custom G10 grips and upswept beavertail add to the comfort on the range, as well as in a situation.
When Kimber first started producing 1911s, some folks were skeptical. However, it didn’t take long for folks to realize that Kimber was making quality handguns with custom features at an affordable price. In fact, the company continues this today with models like the Kimber Pro Carry II (Two Tone). Featuring a brushed-polished steel slide in matte black, an aluminum frame and rosewood grips, the Pro Carry II is good looking and functional. The 4-inch barrel provides good sight radius, while the overall length of 7.7 inches makes it concealable. It also comes with a full-length guide rod for reliability, along with Kimber’s Limited Lifetime Warranty for right around $1,000.
With the SR1911, Ruger features the original fire control but includes some upgrades on all five models. Each one comes with a skeletonized hammer and titanium firing pin for faster lock times, along with an oversized ejection port and magazine release. The company also used CNC machining for better slide to frame fit; this allows the gun to run faster. It also comes with an extended thumb safety and slide stop, as well as a lightweight aluminum trigger. The positive barrel lock-up and drift-adjustable Novak sights provide excellent accuracy. It also accepts most aftermarket parts and accessories.
Springfield Armory claims strength as the core element in its Ronin line. The company reaches this claim with forged steel slides, hammer-forged barrels and a forged aluminum frame on the 4.25-inch model; the full size has a steel frame. The two-tone finish features salt-bluing on the slide and satin Cerekote on the frame for looks and durability. This 9 mm comes with the traditional barrel bushing, along with laminate wood grips that feature the Crossed Cannon logo. Finally, Springfield paired a fiber-optic front sight with tactical-rack, white-dot rear sights, which help with one-hand manipulation of this pistol.
Taurus might have come late to the 1911 game, but it has come a long way in short time, especially regarding affordable 1911s. Featuring a black-on-black finish and black checkered grips, some might say the Taurus lacks personality. However, carry guns aren’t meant to be seen except when required. So, shooters should concentrate on the handling and accuracy of these affordable pistols. They come with all standard features of 1911s, with Novak drift-adjustable sights as an upgrade.
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