9 Best 9mm 1911s: Move Over .45 ACP

When you think 1911…you think of the big and slow .45 ACP.

.45 ACP Ball vs Hollowpoint
.45 ACP Ball vs Hollowpoint

The .45 ACP incorporated a 230-grain bullet at about 850 feet per second in a semi-automatic platform and proved to be a very reliable and robust fighting handgun.


Some 1911s
Some 1911s

So what if we take the original 1911 and built a pistol around the easier shooting 9mm round?  

Then we have the awesome history, ergonomics, and trigger pull of the 1911 in a very easy to shoot cartridge with a great track record as a defensive round (using new hollowpoint technology).

9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147 HP)
9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147 HP)

Sounds good?

Then let’s dive into a few of our favorite 1911s chambered in 9mm.

Best 9mm 1911s

1. Springfield EMP

Let’s start off with something a little more diminutive…the Springfield EMP 9mm.

Springfield 1911 EMP vs 1911 Full Size
Springfield 1911 EMP vs 1911 Full Size

Easy shooting with a 3″ barrel since you still have the full steel weight of the 1911 platform.

And another advantage of 9mm? More ammo! This tiny and concealable 1911 gives you 9 rounds.

Plus there’s plenty of ways to upgrade it with lights and lasers.

EMP with Streamlight TLR-6
EMP with Streamlight TLR-6

If a concealed 9mm 1911 is what you’re looking for…you can’t go wrong with the EMP.

2. Staccato 2011s

We’re going to veer a little into the future now…

Staccato is the rebranded and sexier STI International (probably the most winning of competition 1911 manufacturers).

Staccato, Small to Large
Staccatos, Small to Large

And they do one thing the best…9mm 1911s that are so advanced they are now known as 2011s.

They have their concealed carry oriented C DPO which is single stack and is optic ready.

Staccato C DPO
Staccato C DPO

But if you’re looking for concealed…go with the Staccato C2 which brings capacity to 16 rounds of 9mm goodness.

Staccato C2
Staccato C2

It’s a little thicker but the same weight as the regular C.

Staccato C vs C2, Rear
Staccato C vs C2, Rear

And oh yes…it shoots super smoothly.

About the only downside is the high price but you really get what you pay for here.

If you’re looking at duty or general use…tons of law enforcement agencies are using the Staccato P series.

Staccato Trio of P
Staccato Trio of P

But if you’re looking for a competition gun…that’s what Staccato does the best.

Check out the Staccato XL which, you guessed it…is longer than regular sized 1911s.

Staccato XL, DPO and Regular (L to R)
Staccato XL, DPO and Regular (L to R)

With great length comes a longer sight radius and more weight to soak up that recoil. Giving you probably the smoothest and flattest shooting I’ve ever experienced.

There’s also a .40 S&W version if you want to be super competitive with major power factor in USPSA. But the 9mm will serve you well in steel challenge and Tactical Games (where most elite class winners use the XL).

How about the ultimate gamer gun? Check out the flagship Staccato XC which stands for compensated and is optic ready.

Staccato Double XC
Staccato Double XC

It’ll put you into open class for most competitions. But when you want the best and fastest gun (not just 9mm 1911s)…you want to check it out.

Staccato XC Compensated
Staccato XC Compensated

Check out the gas shooting out the top and keeping the gun ultra flat!

But…you really got to pay to play!

3. Desert Eagle 1911 C

Usually when you think Desert Eagle you think big, like autoloading pistols in .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, and .50 Action Express.  

Swampfox Kingslayer on 429 D Eagle
Swampfox Kingslayer mounted on the mammoth Desert Eagle .429 Magnum.

It’s true, Magnum Research is famous for its big revolvers and big semi-autos, but they really should be famous for their quality, and the Desert Eagle 1911 Series is no exception.  The 1911 series is available in 3 different barrel lengths; C series are 4.33”, G series are 5.01”, and the U series are very compact 3” barreled pistols.

The 1911 series guns all ship with 2 magazines.  The compact U series have 8-rounders, the C and G series feature 9-round mags.

Features like a high ride beavertail grip safety, extended magazine release, extended thumb safety, and full-length stainless guide rod make these guns ready to carry or compete with right out of the box.  The bigger guns are all steel, while the 3” models have an aluminum frame.

4. Kimber Pro Carry II

Kimber America makes more 1911’s than any other company in America. There are 19 different variations of 9mms alone to choose from.  Personally, I like the Pro Carry II.  It’s got a 4” barrel, so it’s a ‘Commander’ size gun and easy to conceal.

The frame is aluminum, while the slide is steel and features low profile fixed sights.  The two-tone color scheme is classy looking, and the rosewood grips finish out the good looks.

There is a full-length guide rod to keep things running smoothly, and, at 28 oz., there is enough weight to keep the recoil at a minimum and keep you shooting all day long.  The Pro Carry magazines hold 9 rounds, so with one in the pipe you have 10 total rounds at your disposal.

5. Springfield Range Officer Compact

Springfield Armory has been building 1911’s since 1985 and currently has 11 offerings in 9mm.  The Range Officer Series has just about everything one could want in a solid performing 1911 handgun.  

It has classic good looks, with a matte anodized aluminum frame and Parkerized steel slide that houses a 4” barrel and full-length guide rod.

Up top, the Range Officer has a fiber optic front sight with a low-profile combat rear sight to get you quickly and easily on target.  The grips feature the Springfield Crossed Canon™ logo and diamond checkering in rosewood.  If you haven’t picked up on it, I’m a sucker for nice wood and dark, blued steel guns.  Each Range Officer ships with 2 8-round magazines.  

6. Ruger SR1911

Ruger entered the market 1911 in 2011, the 100th anniversary of the 1911 with their SR1911 series of guns.  Like everything Ruger does, these guns are robust, built in the US, and worth a close look if you want to add a 1911 to your collection.  

Most Rugers are heavy, and this 9mm is no exception at 29.3 oz.  The frame is gray anodized aluminum and the slide is stainless with Novak 3-Dot sights.  To enhance accuracy the stainless slide and 4.25” barrel are machined on the same tooling and from the same bar stock. 

A modern-era Series 70 Ruger SR1911, picture left, and a Series 80 Remington R1, picture right
A modern-era Series 70 Ruger SR1911, picture left, and a Series 80 Remington R1, picture right

Like many of the fine 1911’s today the Ruger has a beavertail grip safety and extended thumb safety.

On many 1911’s the plunger tube for the thumb safety and the slide stop are staked to the frame., but on the Ruger, the plunger tube is integral to the frame and cannot become loose, damaged or bent.

There is a visual port to provide confirmation of a loaded chamber as well.

Magazine capacity is 9 rounds.  This is a great, no frills pistol that will provide a lifetime of service and shooting fun. 

Parting Shots

Of course this is just a sampling to whet your appetite for a new 1911 in 9mm.  Are these the best 9mm 1911’s?  With so many great guns on the market these days, it’s hard to say, but I believe they all represent fine quality, reliability, accuracy and availability.  

None are custom, but all include many features on pistols built by the finest custom shops.  They are all reliable, accurate and have the classic good looks that 1911’s should have.  

Staccato Wheel of Fortune
Staccato Wheel of Fortune

Of course, you may prefer a different 9mm 1911 (and if you do, tell us in the comments!), but these are all great options, and regardless of your decision, you can’t go wrong having a genuine 1911 in you collection.  

After all, it’s one of those guns every gun nut needs.

What do you think about 9mm 1911s? What is your favorite caliber 1911? Let us know in the comments! For some more 1911 action, take a look at the Best 1911 Pistols For The Money and the Best 1911 Mods!

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