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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.

at Staccato

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

See the full review of both the C and C2 here…along with our full video review too:

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).

at Staccato

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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!

at Staccato

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Check out our full review of the Staccato XL and XC right here. Along with a YouTube video:

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.

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

at Ky Gun Co

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.  

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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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31 Leave a Reply

  • Thomas William Showalter

    My personal favorite in 1911 9 MM is the Wilson Combat, CQB, 5" barrel. VERY accurate, flat shooting, near perfect trigger and completely reliable. After 30,000 rounds have yet to have any sort of failure. None. Worth the money.

    May 27, 2021 3:43 pm
  • victor corpuz

    Why is Les Baer custom not in your list?

    December 24, 2020 11:58 pm
  • Al

    9mm Specific - Dan Wesson PM9 or SSC 9mm - no MIM parts, excellent build. Would recommend these above some mentioned above. A bit on the higher price range.

    November 16, 2020 11:29 am
  • Rich

    I am shocked that the Sig Sauer 1911 Match Elite 9mm wasn't on the list. Sig Sauer for whatever reason discontinued this awesome pistol.
    I paid $1000 for mine and it's my favorite 9mm......I like it more than my P226.

    June 27, 2020 8:11 am
  • Jamie

    I am suprised the p938 is not on this list. The smallest sig gun made. I own this firearm and I am much more accurate with this with its single action then my glock 48 and the barrel is an inch smaller. I am glad I got this gun for my summer carry and I love shooting it. Whenever I take both of them to the range my glock barely gets used.

    June 24, 2020 2:11 pm
    • River Rat

      Same experience as yours Jamie. It’s an awesome little 1911.

      June 17, 2021 9:31 pm
  • Alexander Nguyen

    "The Taurus brand is synonymous with quality" -PewPewTacitcal 2019

    February 4, 2020 9:31 am
    • Barry

      I had a Taurus 908 9mm back in the '90s that spent All of its life shipping back and forth to the factory for repairs. It NEVER shot more than two rounds W/O a problem. I sold it and will NEVER buy a Taurus gun again. Granted they had to of got better but, not for me.

      March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
  • Sam

    You have to shoot at least 500 rounds to break it in. Read the manual first it states this and many people trade in hand guns too early without properly breaking them in. Clean gun before ever firing it first then Shoot 100 rounds clean it shoot 100 rounds clean it do this for 500-700 rounds

    January 30, 2020 11:09 am
  • Michael Grace

    9mm 1911 models of various brands are usually incredibly dependable in rugged conditions; have above average accuracy within design parameters (similar to 45 models); and, with proper maintenance, spring and magazine functionality, as well as user skill provide proven desirability as a handgun of choice.

    December 26, 2019 8:00 pm
  • Bob

    After leaving gun news daily where they listed a Beretta 92 and a fnx on there list of 9mm 1911's I can't say too much bad about this list.

    October 5, 2019 10:24 pm
  • Albert

    For what it's worth; I buy a 'low cost' 1911, take it to my local 'pistolero gunsmith' and have him do a 'street job' on it. Reliable and runs like a rabbit.

    August 7, 2019 5:38 am
  • Jack Deaner

    I recently purchased a Kimber Pro Carry II 9mm. After 300 rds. it still jams; sometimes failure to eject, sometimes failure to extract. I'm going to return it to the gun shop, and will probably take a blood bath. I plan to buy a Colt LW Commander 9mm. God help me if it is also a loser.

    June 9, 2019 12:59 pm
  • Dean W.

    Just bought a Springfield Armory EMP4. I’m really liking it - slightly smaller all the way around and holds 9+1. The Carry Contour model has a clipped mainspring housing that makes it comfortable to hold and helps a bit with concealment.

    And shoots very nice!

    November 7, 2018 6:30 am
    • JD

      What kind of holster are you using?

      June 18, 2019 5:09 pm
  • James Altizer

    Your lead photograph is not an M1911. It's an M1911 A1. You should know the difference.

    August 22, 2018 1:23 pm
    • Dale E Ross

      Your seat belt is too tight..

      January 4, 2019 11:19 am
    • Fred Vo

      Some of us may, not, so why not point out the difference(s) and educate everyone instead of trying to prop yourself up as some kind of expert and just drop a steaming troll turd?

      April 5, 2019 11:41 am
  • Tom

    I have a Springfield 1911 RO Elite Champion 9mm and love it. It comes with an ambi safety, fiber optic sight, 4" barrel and alloy frame weighing 29 oz.. You can get 10 round magazines that don't stick out any further than 8 round .45's. Very accurate and great handling. I had bought the EMP 4 CC Contour first, but the grip diameter is smaller than the 1911 which feels better in my hand. I gave it to my wife and she loves it better than the other 9's that she has.

    July 18, 2018 12:11 pm
  • Hoyden

    Springfield Armory EMP not on this list? A 9x19 built from the ground as a 1911. If you’re going for a 9mm in a 1911, take advantage of the smaller cartridge to get a smaller grip and a pistol made to fire the cartridge, not a .45ACP redesigned for 9mm (which I’ve had several with feeding problems, Kimber, Colt, S&W). YMMV

    April 23, 2018 7:21 pm
    • joe

      The Colt LW commander was designed and built as a 9mm .... I have fed 2500+ round through mine with not 1 hic-up!!! Try it you will like it

      May 11, 2018 7:42 am
  • Randy

    I love all the comments and the real-world experience you guys have with 9mm 1911"s. As I stated, I don't know if it's even possible to say a given gun is the best. We are blessed with so many great guns today and the choices really are endless. It all comes down to what gun fits you, what features you are looking for, how you shoot it (if you have a chance to shoot some range guns), and your budget.

    April 13, 2018 8:58 am
  • Leonard

    Liked the point you are making here. However I am 60 now and the recoil of the 9mm is much easier for me to control vs 45acp

    March 16, 2018 5:03 pm
  • Ostensor

    Not sure what the point is? There are so many pistols designed for the caliber to choose from. And not sure the comment about 1911 reliability is valid. Guess two each their own.

    January 9, 2018 4:24 pm
  • Chris

    I have a two-tone Citadel 1911 9mm with Rosewood grips. It looks great and shoots awesome. I have $450 in it, like new Used, so not a $1,000 pistol. But, anyone that's held or shot it, really likes it.

    January 4, 2018 9:07 pm
  • robert

    I just don't see the point in a 9mm that only holds 8-9 rounds. If I'm going to carry a 1911, it will be in .45 acp and still have 8-9 rounds. If I'm going with 9mm, it will be a glock 19. Yup its plastic, but it goes bang every time. Certainly not as accurate as my Kimber TLE/RL but within 20 yards, the bad guy is not going to see another day. Just my 2 cents

    January 4, 2018 6:18 pm
  • Jeff

    My fav 9mm 1911 is my nighthawk T4. 3.8 in barrel and full-size clip. It’s thin and I shoot superbly with it. Nighthawk rulz.

    January 4, 2018 5:42 pm
  • Bill G

    You missed what is in my opinion the best overall 9mm 1911. Though expensive, it is worth every penny. The Springfield EMP4 is the ONLY 9mm 1911 which was designed, engineered, and built with ALL newly speced and manufactured parts, designed specifically for the 9mm caliber. ALL other 9mm 1911's use off the shelf components from that builders 45 line, and that IS a compromise!

    January 4, 2018 5:05 pm
    • Jeff

      My nighthawk T4 was designed from the ground up to be 9mm.

      January 4, 2018 5:44 pm
    • Paul Santos

      Agreed, I absolutely love mine!

      January 5, 2018 7:52 am
  • Patrick

    My first - and favorite - gun was a Kimber Custom II in 9mm. I wanted a good gun to start out with, but I didn't want to spend all my money on ammo, so 9mm made the most sense.

    January 4, 2018 4:37 pm