Compact 9mm 1911 pistols have been a popular niche gun for decades. Combining the cartridge and platform hasn’t always been a success, but modern guns have gone a long way to work out any of the problems in the mating of this pistol size and cartridge. Currently, there are a number of compact 9mm 1911 pistols on the market that range in features from the plain to the exotic. Similarly, prices run from less than $600 to nearly $4,000—and that’s before customizations. Here’s a look at some of the guns currently available.
Nighthawk Custom T4
The T4 pistol from Nighthawk Custom is a compact 9mm 1911 that has a fit and finish to match the company’s sterling reputation. The gun is precisely crafted for concealed carry and is fitted with a number of top-end features. A Heinie Slant Pro Straight Eight rear sight and tritium dot front sight are used to aim the pistol, while the aggressively textured VZ Alien grip panels ensure absolute control during rapid fire. Lastly, the T4 uses a stainless steel frame that helps absorb recoil.
Springfield Armory EMP
Springfield Armory built the EMP, or Enhanced Micro Pistol, around the size of the 9mm, rather than adapting a .45-sized gun to the smaller cartridge. The result is a gun with increased reliability and decreased size. The EMP has all of the desirable features found in a custom-grade 1911, including an ambidextrous safety, a crisp trigger, excellent accuracy, and great ergonomics. By creating the gun specifically around the 9mm cartridge, the company was able to get nine rounds into each magazine, instead of the typical eight, which is more than enough for the vast majority of defensive situations.
Wilson Combat Ultralight Carry Sentinel
Beauty and performance aligned in the design of the Ultralight Carry Sentinel from Wilson Combat. This compact 1911-style pistol has an impeccable black Armor-Tuff finish that is nicely accented by G10 Starburst grips. The fluted barrel is match grade and fitted by hand, and when combined with the crisp trigger, delivers an accuracy guarantee of creating 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards. The wide U-notch of the rear Battlesight matches with the bright green fiber-optic front sight to allow the shooter to get on target quickly. As with many of the company’s guns, there are a variety of customization options available for the pistol.
Smith & Wesson Performance Center SW1911 Pro Series 9mm
The beauty of Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center firearms is that they seamlessly combine competition specifications and features to factory models to create a sidearm that is ready for action from the get-go. The SW1911 Pro Series 9mm features an oversized external extractor, three-hole curved trigger with an overtravel stop, grip safety, ambidextrous thumb safety, and an oversized external extractor for reliable operation. The firearm itself was designed with a stainless steel barrel and slide and a scandium alloy frame for years of use.
Thanks to the Novak sights and Colt’s own Upswept Beavertail Grip Safety, the Colt Defender offers a secure grip and rapid target acquisition. The Colt Defender gives shooters a reliable sidearm that maintains the reputation and ergonomics of a 1911 with the reduced recoil and easy handling that comes standard with a 9mm.