Demand for 1911 pistols remains steady after all these years and is even increasing in some cases.
Numerous new designs in the handgun market have done little to slow the popularity of 1911 pistols. It remains one of the most concealable, accurate, and easy-to-shoot pistols on the market today.
Choices abound with numerous compact and even subcompact models available.
Top competitors, tactical operators, and enthusiasts alike continue to use full-sized 1911 pistols in various calibers and designs to great effect. Any talk of its demise, or even decrease in its popularity, is just that—talk—because the 1911 pistol is selling in record numbers with no indication that will change any time soon.
One of the most popular moves among manufacturers in the last couple of years has been to the more affordable-to-shoot 9mm cartridge, and the 1911 is no exception. Increasingly efficient for self-defense, the 9mm is subsequently becoming the caliber of choice for many.
Advances in machining, construction, and demand have provided several solid 1911 pistols in this caliber. Easy concealment, soft recoil, and incredible accuracy make the 1911 platform an excellent choice for this caliber.
Our Top Choices for 9mm 1911 Pistols for Self-Defense and Concealed Carry
Having owned several Colt Defender pistols over the years, I can say that they have all been reliable, accurate, and comfortable to carry. Adding a 9mm version to the lineup only makes it better. Soft-shooting, accurate, and easy to shoot, the 9mm Defender is ready to go to work right out of the box. Rubber grips lock this compact pistol in place, allowing for smooth operation and little recoil. An upswept grip safety, enhanced hammer, and aluminum trigger provides a solid grip. Lowering and flaring the ejection port facilitates better reliability. For those looking to get a 3-inch-barreled 1911 with proven reliability, the Defender chambered in 9mm is a solid choice.
Dan Wesson Guardian
Dan Wesson’s Guardian is one of the most popular Commander-sized 1911 pistols available. Since its introduction, it has only gained in popularity, and chambering it in 9mm has certainly added to its appeal. Using an alloy frame, it remains lightweight. The bobbed grip frame prevents “printing” under clothing. Its stippled, carry-style grip panels and low-mount sights are perfect for concealed carry. With nine-round magazines, it provides solid capacity in a slim, single-stack design. If you are looking for a Commander-sized 1911 for concealed carry, the Dan Wesson Guardian should be at the top of your list.
Ed Brown Executive Carry
Clean and classic with all the necessary features and nothing extraneous, Ed Brown’s Executive Carry sports the classic Ed Brown Bobtail housing, which reduces the projecting butt of the mainspring housing without sacrificing the full grip size or magazine capacity. The slide has been reduced to just 4.25 inches, providing minimal printing, a lighter weight in an all-steel gun, and a design that pushes the limits of John Browning’s original design.
Springfield Armory Range Officer
Designed to be ready for competition out of the box, the Range Officer is incredibly popular with first-time 1911 buyers. The pistol has the same quality forged frame and slide used on the Springfield Trophy Match and TRP models, and it comes with adjustable sights. The precision fitting provides for excellent accuracy. The high-swept grip safety, flat mainspring housing, and long trigger make for solid accuracy. With its soft-shooting characteristics, it is perfect for those spending extended time on the range.
Wilson Combat Ultralight Carry Sentinel
This is the smallest, lightest pistol made by the always-reliable Wilson Combat. Made with top-tier components and optimized for high-performance 9mm loads, the Ultralight Carry Sentinel is designed for concealment with a rounded-butt frame that’s 0.5 inches shorter than a standard compact, with the pistol’s grip guiding the hand immediately into the shooting position. It’s one of the best Wilson Combat has to offer, and it’s just plain tough looking.
Smith & Wesson Pro Series
One of the first major manufacturers to offer a full-sized 9mm 1911, the S&W Pro Series remains a favorite for many. Pro Series pistols are in between the standard and Performance Center models with a number of enhanced features. Adjustable sights make it well-suited to competitors and target shooters. Nicely contoured controls and Pro Series features make it suitable for professional use or personal defense. Given its time in the marketplace, it is one of the most proven full-sized 1911 pistols, making it an excellent first choice for a 9mm 1911 pistol.
Taurus is well known for its revolvers, but it makes fine 1911s, too. Its 9mm Government Model-sized pistol is packed with features but affordably priced under $700. The Taurus 1911 comes equipped with genuine ramped Novak sights, an ambidextrous thumb safety, and a lightened, skeletonized trigger for crisp pulls. The Taurus 1911 9mm accommodates a nine-round magazine for a total capacity of 9+1.
Wilson Combat CQB/CQB Elite
Wilson Combat builds some of the finest 1911 pistols you can buy. The company’s proven track record, attention to detail, and dedication to the 1911 platform make it a top choice for many. The CQB and CQB Elite are solid combat pistols built with self-defense, duty, or hard use in mind. Built one at a time, by hand, these pistols offer custom design, proven parts, and Wilson’s 100-percent satisfaction guarantee. Having used one extensively, it has proven to be the most reliable 9mm 1911 pistols I’ve tested to date, exhibiting stunning accuracy and reliability.
Springfield Armory Garrison
Springfield Armory’s Garrison 1911 chambered in 9mm is the exact same as its .45 ACP counterpart. Basically, if you love the look of the .45 ACP Garrison but aren’t keen on shooting a .45 ACP, Springfield has you covered. Shooters will appreciate the low-profile 3-dot sights, an extended single-side thumb safety, and an extended beavertail grip safety to protect your hands from hammer bite.