The 1911 9mm: Choosing Your Ideal Model

— Daniel ReederCADRE Dispatch

Historically, the 1911 handgun has been associated with .45 ACP — a cartridge bestowed with the moniker “the Lord’s caliber” owing to its renowned effectiveness, reliability, performance, and historical significance. However, more and more gun owners are choosing the classic firearm with the more modern 9mm chambering. Why? There are several compelling reasons.

Notably, the 9mm offers a softer shooting experience. This is a crucial consideration for a significant portion of 1911 enthusiasts, not least of which would be older shooters whose wrists and joints benefit from the reduced recoil that 9mm provides. With the adoption of the 9mm chambering, they can continue to relish those days at the range, potentially extending their range sessions.

Other contributing factors include better capacity, widespread availability, and generally affordable prices. In terms of capacity, the medium-bore 9mm stacks better than the big-bore .45 ACP — especially when you’re looking at double-stack options. At the end of the day, in the world of 9mm 1911s, traditional design intersects with modern demand.

Kimber KDS9c double stack 1911/2011 handgun.
Kimber’s KDS9c is a double stack 9mm 1911/2011 style pistol. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Today we’re taking a look at several well-known 1911s chambered in 9mm, each with its features and capabilities.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go.

The Springfield 1911 Ronin 9mm

We’ll begin our journey with the Springfield 1911 Ronin 9mm. The Ronin is known for its ergonomic design and incorporates features typical of the 1911, including a comfortable grip and manageable handling, which contribute to its ease of use. The safety lever is not ambidextrous, which does help it to maintain a slimmer profile for carrying. However, this option may not be ideal for left-handed users.

The Springfield Ronin 9mm 1911

Features of the Ronin

  • Aesthetic Appeal: The firearm boasts a two-tone retro design reminiscent of custom handguns from the 1980s and 1990s.
  • Slide and Frame: Its blued steel slide features forward and aft serrations over a forged stainless steel frame. These not only enhance grip and manipulation but also contribute to the durability and resilience of the gun.
  • Sighting System: The Ronin has a “tactical rack” rear sight and a bright orange fiber-optic front sight. This sighting system, designed for high visibility in various lighting conditions, allows for one-handed racking off flat surfaces.
  • Additional Features: The firearm includes elements like a skeletonized trigger, stainless-steel Torx-head grip screws, and a tapered magazine. These features enhance both functionality and aesthetics.

Priced around $917.00, the Ronin falls into the mid-tier pricing category.

The Tisas Tank Commander 9mm

The Tisas Tank Commander 9mm blends the classic beauty of the 1911 with modern enhancements. Unlike many contemporary handguns which have grip texturing for enhanced control, the Tank Commander features a smoother front strap. This might affect grip stability for some shooters. The full-size frame with a 4.25″ barrel creates a manageable balance to handle 9mm rounds comfortably. 

The Tisas Tank Commander 9mm

Features of the Tank Commander

  • Frame and Barrel Configuration: This model mirrors the classic “Commander” size, featuring a full-size frame. It also has a 4.25″ barrel that contributes to the gun’s stability and handling prowess.
  • Finish and Aesthetics: The grey cerakote finish lends the firearm a distinctive look. It’s reminiscent of a parkerized finish but with more consistency.
  • Historical Design Elements: The Tank Commander includes Series 70 internals, preferred by some for their simplicity and historical accuracy. This echoes the design of a traditional US GI issue sidearm.

With a price point of approximately $429, the Tisas Tank Commander is an economical option for those seeking a 1911-style handgun.

Colt Competition 1911 9mm

The Colt Competition 1911 9mm is known for its high accuracy and innovative recoil system. The Colt National Match Barrel is the primary factor contributing to that precision. The gun also features the Colt Dual Spring Recoil System, initially developed for the Marine Corps. The system is aimed at reducing recoil and muzzle flip, especially in the 9mm model. This system also helps with quick follow-up shots and increases the recoil spring’s lifespan.

Colt Competition 1911 9mm

 Features of the Colt Competition 1911:

  • National Match Barrel: Designed for high performance, particularly in competitive settings.
  • Sights: Equipped with a Novak adjustable rear sight for precision aiming, it is complemented by a blue fiber optic front sight.
  • Construction: The use of a carbon steel frame and slide enhances the durability, providing a robust and classic 1911 appearance.

Priced at around $899, the Colt Competition 1911 offers competitive value in the market for competition-style 1911s.

 Remington R1 Enhanced 9mm 1911

The Remington R1 Enhanced 9mm 1911 combines aesthetic appeal with functional performance. It is renowned for functioning reliably, with rare jamming or issues related to feeding, extraction, or ejection. The gun features a matte black finish, offering a professional and elegant look.

The R1 Enhanced includes an adjustable skeletonized trigger, known for its crisp and light action, and an ergonomically designed grip with aggressive texturing and laminate wood grips. Additional features such as the extended beavertail and front and rear slide serrations enhance handling comfort and control.


Features of the R1 Enhanced:

  • Slide Serrations: The inclusion of front and rear slide serrations offers users an improved grip, facilitating easier slide manipulation.
  • Extended Beavertail: The beavertail provides enhanced hand protection and a secure grip.
  • Wood Grips: The laminated wood grips not only enhance the firearm’s aesthetics but also contribute to the overall feel and grip quality.
  • Barrel: Aiming to improve accuracy, the manufacturer features a match-grade stainless steel barrel.
  • Magazines: The R1 Enhanced includes two nine-round stainless steel magazines, known for their quality.

With a retail price under $1000, the Remington R1 Enhanced is another mid-tier choice within the 9mm 1911 pistol category. 

Ed Brown Executive Commander 9mm

The Ed Brown Executive Commander 9mm is a custom 1911-style pistol made with parts that were machined and hand-fitted by expert craftsmen. That craftsmanship results in the high level of accuracy and reliability that Ed Brown is so well known for. This is evident in the exact slide-to-frame fit and the barrel’s perfect alignment with its bushing.

The pistol is designed for enhanced shooting performance, offering fast, accurate shots. Its sighting system, consisting of a brass bead front sight and a plain black rear sight, aids in quick target acquisition.

Aesthetically, the pistol stands out with a 4.25-inch slide featuring ball endmill cuts and a French border. The high cost of the Ed Brown Executive Commander places it in the premium price range.

Ed Brown Executive Commander 9mm

Features of the Executive Commander

  • Personalization: The availability of custom shop options means owners can tailor their pistols to their preferences.
  • Design Details: The pistol boasts elegant design elements, including a 4.25-inch slide with ball end mill cuts, a French border, and a flattened and serrated top.
  • Superior Ergonomics: The front strap and mainspring housing are checkered at 25 LPI, paired with traditional double-diamond black cherry grips.

Priced between $3,595 to $3,950, the Ed Brown Executive Commander situates itself in the high-end segment of the market, reflecting its bespoke nature and high-level craftsmanship.

Wrapping Up

The 9mm 1911 handgun market presents a wealth of choices. From budget-friendly options to high-end, precision-engineered models, there’s a 9mm 1911 for every enthusiast. By balancing classic design and modern performance, these firearms demonstrate the versatility and enduring appeal of the 1911 platform.

Get the Safariland Newsletter

Get the SITREP on promotions, product news and exclusive offers.

Sign Up

Find a Dealer

Find a dealer near you with Safariland’s dealer locator.