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Old 01-13-2015, 09:19 PM   #1
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9mm M1911

A recent discussion in another thread made note of the fact that several gun makers are preparing to offer M1911 pattern pistols chambered for the 9mm Luger cartridge. In the past this gun/cartridge combination has been a bit difficult to pull off with total success. So I thought that the issue deserves some authoritative discussion by our resident 1911 folks. Just what are the problems with the M1911 pattern pistol in the 9mm chambering?

"We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us." - Winston Churchill
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:53 PM   #2
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We got a little off base in the other thread. I'm no 1911 expert, but I sum up what I've read about the problem. The chief advantages of the 9mm would be reduced recoil and cheaper ammo.

The disadvantages come from size, shape, and energy. The rim size requires a different extractor. The cartridge size requires a spacer in the magazine to hold the smaller cartridge securely and position it to feed reliably. It can be in front or behind the cartridge. Putting the spacer in front pushes the cartridge back and makes it jump farther when it is chambered. It is more common to find the spacer in the rear. In either case you have the problem of holding a tapered cartridge and getting it to feed properly. They a tendency to nose dive. The feed lips are tricky. It's not unlike tuning .45 acp mags to load ball, HP, and SWC bullets.

Dillon's Blue Press had and article about the Leatham designed Metalform magazines. http://www.dillonprecision.com/docs/...lform_mags.pdf

The other problem is the lower recoil and cycling the slide. A 5" slide can work with the right springs, but a 4.25" slide probably works better.

My two cents until a real expert comes along.

Last edited by vern; 01-13-2015 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:00 AM   #3
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The biggest problem a friend of mine and former competitor who ran the 9mm 1911 was the feed problems associated with the magazines available at the time (about 5-10 years ago). The newer magazines and 1911s seem to have addressed this issue.
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:25 AM   #4
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I wish I could tell you I had a hundred of them and these are my findings. I am unable to do that. I have had four. They have been 3 Colts and one Taurus. The first was a very long time ago and I never shot it so that one is not much help.

The second was the Taurus. It worked fine. My shooting companion talked me out of that one. It never missed a beat for me. He says it has been flawless for him.

The third is the pistol in this thread. It has been flawless.

The fourth was a 9mm pre 80 series combat commander in satin nickle. I picked it up last year. I knew when I played with it the magazine and recoil spring were bad. I was on the road and my shooting companion had four magazines: the two Taurus and two Tripp Cobras. I robbed the recoil spring out of a 38 super combat commander I had with me and we tested the nine. It did not fail. One of my 1911 doctors talked me out of it. That probably would not have happened without having the gun from the other thread to keep. If I had not acquired that one, I would still have the Taurus.

Now, I should have the supreme test in my hands in a few days. A three inch New Agent. I like the minimum bulk of the New Agent compared to the Defender. I think my ammo from Les is going to help put that one on trial so to speak. If there are problems, I can rebarrel it to 38 super. The breech face is the same.

Now I have heard the bad reputation of the 1911 in nine bandied about. Springfield and Metalform worked up a magazine with no spacer plate for a reason. You often here of it called the Leatham magazine. It has a U shaped trough running down the leading edge to replace the spacer plate in the rear. I picked one of those up and it has worked the same for me as the spacer plate variety.

Now, Colt is releasing about three nine mil offerings for 2015.
New Colt pistols for 2015 | Gun Nuts Media

Springfield's Range Officer is out there already. Other makers have Offerings in 9mm 1911s as well. If performance was as lackluster as some would have us believe, demand would have simply dried up. That is my view on the 9mm 1911.
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Old 01-14-2015, 05:03 AM   #5
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I have no experience with the 9mm in the 1911. When JMB was give the commandments of 1911's the lord said; "though shalt build them in .45 ACP". I believe that...

All kidding aside, there IS a place for the 9mm in the 1911. I've been put off by the inconsistent reports I read here and other places. All said, I believe I'll wind up with a .38 super before I get a 1911 in 9mm...

Just my .02 worth.


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Old 01-14-2015, 07:42 AM   #6
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Todd Green has a long term 9MM 1911 test on pistol-training.com. He is a 9MM fan, but in my reading over the years, he has never been particularly complimentary of the 1911. He seems to have come away with a positive feeling about the 9MM 1911.

pistol-training.com Blog Archive Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #31
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:56 AM   #7
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+1 38 super
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:56 AM   #8
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I should have mentioned Mr. Huntershooter's 9mm. Hopefully, when the weather improves, he will tell us about how it runs.



I am pretty high on .38 super as well. I just feel like 9mm in 1911 is a good thing to have around in consideration of ammunition prices. I see my five inch as a training platform for the other calibers like some view the .22 conversions. I see this three inch coming as a test platform: 9mm and three inch being the worst possible combination according to legend.


Interesting information in the links provided. I do think the kind of speed in play by folks that compete may change the dynamics. There is also the reloaded ammunition factor popping up. I have not experienced difficulty with the Tripp magazines or the colt spec metal forms. I think the problem cropping up in the test with the Leatham magazines shows the importance of staying on top of magazine spring replacement in 9mm. I have some forty five magazines that have been around a long time. I am changing all the eight round flush fits over to 7 rounders with Tripp super seven kits. I want to see if I detect a sound change in using the two styles of metal forms like was alluded to in the link to the Dillon blue press marketing article.

I also have at least four levels of power in the 9mm, maybe five. I have the discount house training ball in both bullet weights, standard velocity JHP, plus P JHP and plus P plus JHP, all three bullet weights in standard velocity JHP and one downloaded box of 124 grain for home defense. There is a novelty box of 147 grain designed for suppressed weapons but there is no way to replace those if I shoot them. Maybe something can induce a malfunction.
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Old 01-14-2015, 01:48 PM   #9
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The recent surge in popularity of the 1911 in 9mm comes from several places: cost, age and the face behind the gun.

Many 1911 lovers are looking for lower cost alternatives and one chambered in 9mm would qualify. As many of us age we're experiencing chronic health issues due to a lifetime full of shooting full power .45 service loads and the like. I personally suffer from chronic tendonitis in my elbows because of this, not to mention issues with arthritis that I've mentioned previously. Since I switched to a 9mm for most of my shooting these issues have subsided to a large degree.

Several notable trainers like Ken Hackathorn have commented on this and now advocate 9mm 1911's for training due to such issues. Todd Green is currently recovering from an elbow replacement and a 9mm 1911 is the only thing he can currently shoot due to muscle atrophy. Todd was never a fan of the 1911, but now that it's the only thing he can shoot suddenly he's singing a different tune. Strange how that works. People like Ken and Todd have their fanboys who'll jump on board with anything they advocate, simply because they advocate it. This isn't a criticism of KH or TG, but that's the reality of the situation. That's why you'll visit places like Todd's Pistol-Forum.com and see lots of new interest in the 9mm 1911.

For myself, I've seen a lot of 9mm 1911's used in competition. Enough to know that I'd never use one for anything else. The overall size and length of the round is the main issue. The alterations necessary to the extractor, breech face and magazine take the design out of the prime envelope for reliability. Tweeking one to get good reliability has always been a huge pain in the ass and this is only accomplished with round nose ammunition. Todd Green outlined a lot of this on his blog concerning a couple of Springfield 1911's he was using in 9mm. Those pistols went back to Springfield several times and were poured over by the SACS to get them to run right. I've never seen one that would run with good reliability using hollow point ammo, ever. I've thought about picking one up for competition use, but then I remember the headaches associated with it and always decide the juice isn't worth the squeeze. If a smaller caliber 1911 is desired I think the .38 Super is a much better choice.
"Of every one hundred men they send me, ten shouldn't even be here. Eighty of them are nothing but targets, nine of them are real fighters - we are lucky to have them, they make the battle. Ahhhh but the one. One of them is a warrior and he will bring the others home."

Heraclitis, 500 BC.

Last edited by trooper; 01-14-2015 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 01-14-2015, 03:25 PM   #10
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If one is interested in a 1911 that was purposefully built for the 9mm/40S&W cartridge and not an altered 45ACP 1911, look no further than the SA EMP. They were built originally for the 9mm cartridge, and it is one fine 1911. I purchased one of the original run of them (serial # 4**) and it had a problem. SA took it back on their dime and made everything correct. The slide/frame interface was way too tight, among the firing pin hole too large, etc. Since I received it back years ago, it has run 100% and is scary accurate. It is a daily CCW in cooler weather.
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