The 1911 is probably the most iconic handgun design ever. No pistol in history has done more – from battlefield to CCW to every single flavor of competition, there are 1911s. It’s just a great gun. It’s also at its finest when it’s chambered in a cartridge it wasn’t originally designed for: 9mm. Now, before you come burn my house down, hear me out because there’s a method to my madness. Yes, I know that it’s harder to make a 9mm 1911 run right than a .45. Yes, I know that the 1911 was originally designed for the .45 ACP cartridge, and that saying it’s better when chambered in 9mm is tantamount to heresy. But it’s heresy like Galileo’s heresy, because I’m actually right.
Let’s look at defensive uses first: we know for a fact that there’s no difference in terminal performance between .45 ACP and 9mm (cue the ballistards), so there’s no point in giving up 2-3 rounds of ammunition capacity, right? If you can carry more, do it. A 1911 with 11 rounds of 9mm on tap has 122% of the firepower of a .45 ACP with 9 rounds in it, and if that kind of made up number doesn’t change your mind, try this: 8 rounds of 185 grain JHP weighs 1480 grains, but 11 rounds of 147 grain 9mm JHP weighs 1617 grains. THAT’S MORE GRAINS! ALL ABOARD THE GRAIN TRAIN!
To bring things back to reality, consider ease of shooting. Everyone regards 1911s as being wonderfully easy to shoot, thanks to what are still some of the finest ergonomics ever found on a handgun. So what happens when you dump that uneccessarily large cartridge that doesn’t offer any performance advantages in favor of a light weight, soft shooting 9mm that works just as well? You get a gun that’s so stupid easy to shoot well it’s almost criminal. Honestly, one of my favorite things about testing all these 9mm 1911s is how easy they are to shoot. They’re heavy, they soak up what little recoil there is; and it’s really just a good old time.
Lastly, consider the following: in every single other platform, 9mm is better. 9mm Glocks? Best Glocks. 9mm sub-guns? Best sub-guns. So why not 1911s? Besides, think about this. When John Moses Browning designed his next pistol, he designed the gun that he would have made if the Army hadn’t insisted on certain design parameters. What was the result? A double stack 9mm pistol. Sure, the Belgians gayed it up with that magazine disconnect, but otherwise it’s perfect. Just like the 1911 in 9mm.