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Comparing compact 9mm 1911's

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Jim PHL, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Jim PHL

    Jim PHL New Member

    I'm really loving my 1911's these days. I have 2 full-size .45's that I currently enjoy shooting more than any of my other guns. I'm looking at compact 9mm models just for a little variety. This won't be specifically for carry as I currently own a S&W 'Shield' 9mm for that, but of course any of my guns may be pressed into CC duty occasionally. I once owned a SA "Micro-Compact" in .45 and would not surprise myself by someday getting into another compact .45. I am also eyeing a .45 CCO for range and possible carry that may change - or at least delay - the new 9mm purchase, but for now I am considering the following guns. Please chime in if you have experience with any of the following and especially if you own more than one of them and can speak to direct comparison. (Again, for now, just wondering about 9mm versions of those which are offered in both 9mm and .45.):
    Colt Defender
    Springfield EMP
    STI Guardian
    STI Escort
    Dan Wesson ECO ($!)

    If you have another that fits the bill of course I'd love to hear about it. I'm not absolutely locked-in to any of the above (yet) and, honestly, all my homework may go out the window when I show up at my LGS with cash in my pocket and see what is actually on the shelf that day. (As of yesterday they did have a Colt CCO .45 and a Defender 9mm and EMP 9mm.)

    Finally, we all know that 3" .45's are routinely trashed for lack of reliability, does anyone have any thoughts or experience on whether the same bugs that affect 3" .45 reliability apply to their 9mm counterparts?
  2. bannockburn

    bannockburn Active Member

    Jim PHL

    You might want to add the Colt New Agent to your list. I have the TALO version which comes with the XS night sights. Makes for very quick aquisition of the sights on target.
  3. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician New Member

    I think the Dan Wesson ECO is my hands-down choice. It is everything I wanted in an officer's size 9mm... round butt treatment, great finish and grips, and straight-8 sights.

    The EMP would be a second choice, but I think the ECO is only about $300 more, and a round butt conversion + switch night sights would run me more than $300.

    Still mostly a pipe dream at this point, since it would be four years before I could save the money for it.
  4. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Active Member

    I bought the EMP9 and absolutely love it, but it's the only one I have experience with. It would be the last gun I would sell.
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Yes, but moreso and worst.

    Running the short and narrower cartridge in the .45ACP length action just adds additional variations in feeding issues to the already existing timing issues. This is, of course, dependent on how hard you run your guns and your expectation of reliability.

    Hilton Yam (10-8 Performance) is a recognized authority on keeping a 1911 running as a duty or competition gun and he worked at getting a 9mm 1911 to run well enough to replace his .45 1911 in training to give his elbows a break. He finally decided it was more practical to go with a M&P9.

    Of the pistols you have listed, the only one that isn't built on a .45ACP sized frame is the Springfield EMP. It's action has actually been optimized to feed a 9x19mm length cartridge.

    Mine has been reliable enough over a couple of thousand rounds for me to feel comfortable with it as a daily carry weapon...it is also a good value at around $1k
  6. critter

    critter Active Member

    I have a Colt New Agent and a Springfield XDs. Both those diminutive 45's are good shooters and both have been absolutely 100% reliable. Easy to carry and easy to conceal. I like them both a lot and carry one or the other often. Using 200 gr JHP's cuts down on the recoil recovery time a bit.

    I also just got a SIG 938 which is proving to be a great little 9mm 1911 for carry. Easier to hide than the others and has been fully reliable and accurate so far. Seems to be a nice little gun.
  7. docnyt

    docnyt New Member

    The EMP is easy to shoot, great ergonomics. Very accurate.

    I've only had experience with the Spartan which is fairly similar. Nice fit and finish.

    Only other 9 mm 1911 I've shot is a custom Fusion. A little stiff but it hasn't been broken in yet.

    Overall the EMP is the best.
  8. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

    Personally, a 9mm Defender is high on my want list!
  9. BB93YJ

    BB93YJ New Member

    Wish I'd kept my Detonics Combat Master Stainless, back in the early '80's:(
  10. HKGuns

    HKGuns Active Member

    No such thing as a 9mm 1911 and in my humble opinion if you want a 1911 get 45ACP. There are plenty of other 9mm pistols out there.
  11. Byrd666

    Byrd666 New Member

    I had an EMP in .40 until I had to sell it for a move. A even though I only had about 500 rounds down the pipe, I found it to be reliable with both ball and hollow point ammo. Accurate, as to expected from an SA weapon and without a hiccup of any sort. The pistol was comfortable and easy to use in all aspects. It pointed as natural as a full size 1911, just without the extra barrel length.

    The only gripe I had about it, was the fact that it was only available in a duo tone finish.
  12. Jim PHL

    Jim PHL New Member

    "No such thing as a 9mm 1911" Yes, actually, there is.

    "and in my humble opinion if you want a 1911 get 45ACP". As I stated, I have a couple, and potentially a third on its' way. Just looking for a little variety.

    "There are plenty of other 9mm pistols out there." I knew this already. I have several. Wanting to add another.

    We have some nice parting gifts for you. Thanks for playing.
  13. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    The Colt Commander was originally designed in 9mm to compete with the S&W M-39 for an Air Force contract
  14. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave New Member

    I'm cheap, I went with RIA/Armscor for this purpose
  15. cyclopsshooter

    cyclopsshooter New Member

    I'm not cheap, another vote for a look at the Sig 938
  16. Ankeny

    Ankeny New Member

    I had an EMP in 9mm, and I also had a 9mm Dan Wesson ECO. Both ran fine, but I went back to Commander sized guns because I shoot them better and at 6'4" they aren't that much harder to pack around. I have also given up on 9mm in 1911s in favor of 38 Lapua.
  17. Jim PHL

    Jim PHL New Member

    Ankeny, how would those two compare to each other? ECO worth the additional $500?
  18. farscott

    farscott Active Member

    STI offers a set of really cost-effective set of models in both .45 and 9x19, the STI Spartan III and Spartan IV. I believe these can be found for about $750 and are backed by STI's customer service. Both are set up as carry guns with Novak-like sights, a rowel hammer, and a decent grip safety as well as using the STI polymer trigger.
  19. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave New Member

    STI's spartan line is made by Armscor, with some STI parts and QC
  20. smalls

    smalls New Member

    A Spartan IV in 9mm is my daily carry gun, and I really like it, and I think its the best "value 1911" out there. But if I had the extra cash to spend when I bought mine, I would have opted for a Guardian for sure. Or a DW Eco!

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