1911 in 9mm-What do I need to know?

My agency is in the process of switching calibers from .357 Sig to 9mm. My agency also issues 1911 handguns to various specialty units.  The 1911's we have purchased so far have been Kimbers and Sigs. 

I serve as one of the armorers for my agency and am in charge of both weapons purchase and ammunition. I'd like to stop buying .45 ACP if I can.  I was wondering if anyone had any experience with 1911's in 9mm as duty guns, and what makes/models would be either GTG or wise to avoid.

I have also purchased an old Colt LW Commander in 9mm and want to set it up for my 1911 teaching gun.  I am wondering if there are any tips/tricks/modifications that you would suggest. I am especially interested in spring weights for 115/124 grain ball and reliable magazines.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

"Hold my beer and watch this"

Original Post

I used Wilson mags exclusively with mine. Never had a problem.

---------------------------------

It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

The .45-70 is the only government I trust

"I was raised in a place called America...
It's gone now, I wish you could've seen it"
- Moustache_6 quoting a WWII vet

 

Joined: 1/30/06 3:34 PM - Location:MA

This might seem like an odd question, but why issue 1911s in 9mm?

I presume that they were issued in .45 for the "special units", as opposed to the unwashed rabble, who had to use something else, chambered in .357SIG.

Now that your agency is transferring to 9mm, with it's obvious advantages, why not issue the same gun to everyone? Or do the "special ones" still need to have something to make them feel special?

1911 experts seem to agree recently, that they they are not necessarily the best option for unit/agency issue, due to their maintenance requirements, and with so many modern options out there, my question is why not issue the same gun to everyone?

What platform is everyone else being issued?

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

MWL posted:

This might seem like an odd question, but why issue 1911s in 9mm?

I don't plan on it, but when someone with more brass on their collar than me orders me to get them one, I want to buy one that will work.

What platform is everyone else being issued?

We are going to Sig P320's in the carry size in 9mm.

Regards.

Mark

 

"Hold my beer and watch this"

SIG anything, let alone the 320, would not be my first choice, but I guess your agency is currently issuing SIGs, so the manufacturer would be doing a one for one swap for you.

Could you not point out that using a heavier, potentially more maintenance intensive gun, holding less of the same ammunition, in different magazines, might not be the best option, even for special people?

Although I am a long time Glock user, my choice would be the M&P9 2.0 with external safety ( and possibly RMR) for the special units, and without for everyone else. Same magazines, same ammunition, but with a little something extra, that will work very similar to their current 1911s.

Just spitballing here, but obviously, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

MWL posted:

SIG anything, let alone the 320, would not be my first choice, but I guess your agency is currently issuing SIGs, so the manufacturer would be doing a one for one swap for you.

This isn't my decision. I'm just tasked with implementing it.

Could you not point out that using a heavier, potentially more maintenance intensive gun, holding less of the same ammunition, in different magazines, might not be the best option, even for special people?

The special people don't care about my opinion. If they did, they wouldn't be asking me to get them 1911's, or some of the other stuff that's been requested. They would stick to proven solutions that would prize function over form, rather than what they're telling me to get them.

 

 

"Hold my beer and watch this"

The Sig Max Michelle series of 1911’s have a very good reputation (although I don’t think any of them have a rail) in the competition world and they are coming out with a 9mm from what I hear. If you want to stick with one manufacturer for support issues thoes may make sense.

If not tell boss man you must absolutely have Wilson Combat or one of the other high end semi cst makers as 9mm 1911’s can be a hair trickier than the larger calibers, you know, just to get some bitchin’ guns in the inventory. Wilson 9mm magazines also have a very good reputation as well as Dawson’s offerings.

Or suggest your special team guys get X5 series of 320’s thoes things shoot...and retain a lot of compatibility with what the rest of your guys will be running. 

Joined: 13AUG2010         Location: Southern Arizona 

That's one way to skin the cat... select the absolute top end 9mm 1911. 

It's a head scratcher that you are entrusted to choose a manufacturer and model of gun, but not offer any input on the overall choice. Or that the special people are special enough to know they *need* a like-caliber but must be 1911... but not know enough to choose one. Innnnnteresting. 

 

Pat McNamara seems to like the Carolina Arms Group offerings for 9mm 1911, and I'd bet he's got a good reason why. 

 

 

 

 

Joined:      14 January 2010                Location:     Lobster emoticonMAINELobster emoticon

LobsterClaw207 posted:

That's one way to skin the cat... select the absolute top end 9mm 1911. 

It's a head scratcher that you are entrusted to choose a manufacturer and model of gun, but not offer any input on the overall choice. Or that the special people are special enough to know they *need* a like-caliber but must be 1911... but not know enough to choose one. Innnnnteresting. 

We did a testing process to select the next pistol. I devised the process, but the candidates were selected by the Sheriff or someone in the command staff who told me that's what the Sheriff wanted.

As for what special people know or don't know, it's like Pat used to say "You don't know what you don't know".  For some reason, every cop thinks that if they're not a gun expert, they're somehow deficient as a human being.  Me, I know certain things about guns. What I don't know, I ask people with a clue before I spend mine or the agency's money. Hence this post. I find the great majority of "it's special" purchasing decisions are made by people who saw a video or something that set that gun in their head. 

When someone special wants something special, it usually goes like this:

-phone call from special person asking for something or email with link saying "order me one of those"

-me saying "sure, but you understand that unless the caliber is .357 Sig or .45 (get ready to replace these with 9mm), you're responsible for ammo from your cost center and the weapon itself comes out of your cost center. Also, why this in particular?"

-them "that's what I want. Get a quote and send it over to me for the purchase order".

-me "Aye aye"

This will be followed in six months or a year by them dropping off the formerly new and cool in the armory, or if it doesn't work, them coming to me or one of the other armorers and asking for help because it's not working, or it kicks too hard, or it's hard to shoot. I have several of these in the armory.  If anyone is interested in a XD (the tiny one in .45 ACP), there will be a batch headed to a wholesaler soon.  Along with Kimbers custom stamped for my agency, and at least two Walther PPK's.

Pat McNamara seems to like the Carolina Arms Group offerings for 9mm 1911, and I'd bet he's got a good reason why. 

If one of them wants to pay for a Wilson Combat or CAG pistol on their allotted funds, more power to them.  I won't be involved when Fiscal Services informs the Sheriff that someone paid three grand for a pistol.  My goal in this is to merely tell them what, based on what I have learned, will work.  What they do with that knowledge is up to them.

 

"Hold my beer and watch this"

FWIW,

I have heard good things about the Colt Wiley Clapp series 9mm pistols lately. One of those is on my short list under the heading "Range Use, Competition purpose, Every real American owns a 1911, BBQ gun, 1 ea."

I have not yet ordered one, but the research I have done points to it being a very solid performer, even in 9mm.

Springfield Armory also builds 9mm 1911 variants with or without rails. I have not seen any egregious comments on those in my recent research.

The longer I live, the more I learn, the wiser I get and the more objectivity I gain.  All of this gain continues to show that the cops as a whole, don't know what they don't know about firearms and ammunition.  They want magic pills as to competence and effectiveness, but won't do the work with standard configuration service pistols and carbines that will get them there.  The few that do the work for competence (less than 5% in my experience) absolutely tear new assholes in bad guys when hard times come.  There's a clue there.

I have to admit, when I hear full size 1911 in 9mm, I think Browning HP.  With the exception of the magazine safety and poor factory thumb safety (except for the latest version), the Hi Power is an improvement over the 1911 in virtually every way.  It will be a lot uglier, but more "modern" if it had a light rail.  But since you're working off of a highly specific order desire (we want 1911 only), a Hi-Power won't be on your list.  And since we're talking police use, a lack of good Safariland holsters. 

Sigh.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Dorsai posted:

I have to admit, when I hear full size 1911 in 9mm, I think Browning HP.  With the exception of the magazine safety poor factory thumb safety (except for the latest version), the Hi Power is an improvement over the 1911 in virtually every way.  It will be a lot uglier, but more "modern" if it had a light rail.  But since you're working off of a highly specific order desire (we want 1911 only), a Hi-Power won't be on your list.  And since we're talking police use, a lack of good Safariland holsters. 

Sigh.

Unfortunately, our policy requires a grip safety in any single action handgun of 9mm or larger. I have pushed against that and been told "no".

"Hold my beer and watch this"

Some of the Lugers came with grip safeties.  And they are in 9mm.  And, everyone loves that zesty toggle action.

Makes about as much sense....

____________________

 "The only legacy a cop can hope for is being mentioned by a couple of guys standing around a barbeque talking about their last caper...hopefully, you're included in their conversation." Dewey, Southland

 

Embracing the Pink Bunny

K.O.A.M. posted

This isn't my decision. I'm just tasked with implementing it.



 

I'm familiar with this concept... ALL of the responsibility, ALL of the culpability, and NONE of the authority.

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

I've put a lot of rounds through BHPs (all very custom) and 1911s in both .45 and 9mm for competition.

Unless you want to do a lot of testing/wrenching/armorer-work, I'd avoid the 9mm in the 1911 platform.  If you can't, then can you nail down some factors like Mags/Ammo/Recoil management to something specific?

First, I'd try to go smaller than 5 inch for 9mm in 1911.  The slide mass DOES make a bit of a difference.  So I'd try for 4 or 4.25 inch guns especially with variable power that you get across 9mm commercial rounds. Then make sure you match an absolutely top quality magazine (I only use Wilson ETMs in my 9mms) with a recoil management setup that works with the rounds people will train and carry.  Sound like a PITA? it is.  Even if you spend lots of cash it is STILL tough.  It's really only for people with armorer type skills and the time and patience to test what works.  

I only got solid reliability when I switched to Wilson's flatwire recoil spring and wilson ETM mags on 4" and 4.25" guns.  And I'm using quite expensive guns, a $3K wilson compact with a bull barrel, and two full house custom commanders from top notch smiths.  If you can find a reliable combo of recoil, mag, ammo, then maybe. In other words, I'd skip it if possible.  For individuals like me who spend a lot of time wrenching and testing and actually think doing this shit is a hobby it's great. I love this shit. For you it'll likely end up with some bosscon being a dick about his gun that doesn't work right.

The only exception I've found on the market is the new Wilson EDC X9 ($2750).  It doesn't have a grip safety, so doesn't meet your req.  But I and others have found truly excellent reliability on the gun.

Newt posted:

I've put a lot of rounds through BHPs (all very custom) and 1911s in both .45 and 9mm for competition.

Unless you want to do a lot of testing/wrenching/armorer-work, I'd avoid the 9mm in the 1911 platform.  If you can't, then can you nail down some factors like Mags/Ammo/Recoil management to something specific? My goal is to 1)tell them it's not a great idea and 2) if they still want to do it, set them up with the best chance for success. It's out of their budgets, so if they want to write that purchase order, it's between them and Fiscal Services.

First, I'd try to go smaller than 5 inch for 9mm in 1911.  The slide mass DOES make a bit of a difference.  So I'd try for 4 or 4.25 inch guns especially with variable power that you get across 9mm commercial rounds. Then make sure you match an absolutely top quality magazine (I only use Wilson ETMs in my 9mms) with a recoil management setup that works with the rounds people will train and carry.  Sound like a PITA? it is.  Even if you spend lots of cash it is STILL tough.  It's really only for people with armorer type skills and the time and patience to test what works.  My 9mm will be a Colt Commander that I plan on tweaking. It's for range use, not for carry. Our practice ammunition will be 115 grain Magtech ball (unless someone else gets on the state contract more cheaply) and carry will be either Speer Gold Dot G2 or Hornady Critical Defense (still awaiting a ruling). 

I only got solid reliability when I switched to Wilson's flatwire recoil spring and wilson ETM mags on 4" and 4.25" guns.  And I'm using quite expensive guns, a $3K wilson compact with a bull barrel, and two full house custom commanders from top notch smiths.  If you can find a reliable combo of recoil, mag, ammo, then maybe. In other words, I'd skip it if possible.  For individuals like me who spend a lot of time wrenching and testing and actually think doing this shit is a hobby it's great. I love this shit. For you it'll likely end up with some bosscon being a dick about his gun that doesn't work right. If I buy them what they want and tell them it will be problematic, they can carry what they're issued when it doesn't work.   No one's making any of these "special people" carry "special" guns. 

The only exception I've found on the market is the new Wilson EDC X9 ($2750).  It doesn't have a grip safety, so doesn't meet your req.  But I and others have found truly excellent reliability on the gun. We have actually had a modification to the policy that would allow for something drop safe in lieu of a grip safety. The way I understand it, MkIII and later HiPowers fit this category. If I can get confirmation, I will start suggesting this to the "special people".  

 

"Hold my beer and watch this"

Except that Browning have currently stopped production of the HP, so good luck finding new ones.

I bought half a dozen of the last seven available in Canada as soon as I found out. I have kept 4 of the MKIIIs, after some judicious swapping.

If they weren't available, I might look at the new CZ 75 SA. Feels great in the hand, takes standard magazines, the ambi safety is really nice, and I think CZ has upped their game since I last used them.

I might just get one anyway.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

Don't forget, FN still makes the Hi-Power.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Yeah, CZs have some GREAT SAO guns. The other one to maybe look at is the SIG P226 SAO.  If they're carrying full size 1911s, this is a great option.  I've got one and it's one of the easiest guns to shoot I own. I love it. Added bonus for some is that you can manipulate the slide without actuating the safety.  

Dorsai posted:

Don't forget, FN still makes the Hi-Power.

Mark,

My bad, when I said Browning, I meant FN.

As far as I know, and from what I confirmed at SHOT, the tooling is worn out, and sales aren't currently high enough to warrant retooling.

Do you have information that they are still being made in Belgium/Portugal?

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

MWL posted:
Dorsai posted:

Don't forget, FN still makes the Hi-Power.

Mark,

My bad, when I said Browning, I meant FN.

As far as I know, and from what I confirmed at SHOT, the tooling is worn out, and sales aren't currently high enough to warrant retooling.

Do you have information that they are still being made in Belgium/Portugal?

Regards.

Mark

Unfortunately, after more research, you are correct.  I thought it was just Browning in the US.  FN ceased production in 2017.  They are allegedly still being produced by the Ishapore Rifle Factory in India, but I've never seen a modern Ishapore firearm in the US.  It's possible that you might have better luck in Canada.  Who knows, a letter writing campaign to Norinco might inspire them to clone it.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

They'll last longer than you will.  We had an Inglis Mk1 come into the store last week.  I checked the serial number range and IIRC, it was manufactured in Sept. 1944.  The store owner decided to keep that one himself.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

In December of 2013 I bought a used Springfield 1911 in 9mm. I replaced the extractor with a heavy duty one from Evolution Gun Works, and also replaced the recoil spring. I bought Wilson ETM magazines at the same time. The gun is quite reliable and pleasant to shoot. Prior to replacing the extractor I had some malfunctions, but that problem has gone away. The gun is stock except for bigger & more visible sights.

I've shot it a few times in USPSA matches. Very pleasant to shoot. Any time I shoot a 9mm gun in a match I use M882 ball. I've never done a function test with that gun with hollow points, I don't think.

(My other M1911 pattern pistols are a Colt Combat Commander that I bought in 1978 (was my duty gun as a cop for 6-1/2 years at the very beginning of my career ) and a Remington Rand GI surplus gun that I bought in 1990. )

**********************

arm yourself, because no one else here will save you . . .

 

he found faith in danger, a lifestyle he lived by

 

Assemble the Kingsmen

Dorsai posted:

They'll last longer than you will.  We had an Inglis Mk1 come into the store last week.  I checked the serial number range and IIRC, it was manufactured in Sept. 1944.  The store owner decided to keep that one himself.

Ammunition is a factor: stuff designed for SMG (like the Mk2Z ball the Brit's fed their L9) will crack the slide.

I'm assuming good MkIII slides are going to become even harder to find at a reasonable price?

Agreed. A 1911 that's reliable and works in 9mm is hands down one of the funnest guns to shoot anywhere. Recoil is just nothing.  And a single stack with a couple of extra rounds is nice and concealable if a little heavy.  Once I got it reliable, I often carry my Wilson 9mm Compact with a 9 round mag and one chambered and two 10 round mags.  VERY concealable on both sides as the gun is small, slim and incredibly accurate.  And the single stack mags carry well too.

The big names are an obvious option and as a fan of Nighthawk they are offering there 9mm  in high capacity options.

Another New option to the field  is SpringField Custom is now offering the "Professional" in 9mm,  obviously the downside to the custom shops is price point.

Hope this helps

Mike

Can I suggest a Gen5 Glock 17?  Spray paint it an exciting color with Krylon to make it "Special".

Done.

____________________

 "The only legacy a cop can hope for is being mentioned by a couple of guys standing around a barbeque talking about their last caper...hopefully, you're included in their conversation." Dewey, Southland

 

Embracing the Pink Bunny

Benton Quest posted:

Can I suggest a Gen5 Glock 17?  Spray paint it an exciting color with Krylon to make it "Special".

Done.

SIG already do that. Every week, they take a bunch of P226's coat them in glue, drop them in a bucket of bejazzle, and hey presto, another special, limited edition!

Already have a 226? How about a 226 TACOPS Select Enhanced Emperor Scopion Legion SAO X5? You have one of those too? Have you got the one with the matching challenge coin and folder? No? Well have I got just the gun for you!

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

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