I have read and re-read quite a few articles, and watched quite a few videos on YouTube, regarding the “Top Nine 9mm Pistol”, the “Top Eight 9mm Pistols”, “The Top Five 9mm Pistols, etc., etc.
With as many 9mm pistols that are currently are in the marketplace, I can see why searching for one can send the head spinning. This would be especially true for the new pistol buyer. Even those who have been around the 9mm block a bit can still be inundated with 9mm choices, although the experienced buyer may have a favorite manufacturer in mind.
With my degraded health situation, I knew that I must separate from my .45 ACP mainstay cartridge until the healing process was over and I could walk back to it. The 9mm cartridge, because of its low recoil characteristics will be carried for a while. With that implanted in my somewhat still supple brain matter, the search was going to be on for a 9mm pistol.
I was primarily interested in a single-stack 9mm that would serve as a stepping stone to a double-stack 9mm pistol (more weight), which would be a progressive step forward to my beloved 1911 in .45 Automatic Colt Pistol chambering.
While I do have a few single-stack 9mm pistols, a single-stack 9mm pistol that I would be carrying while in a state of degraded health not only had to be a good performer, but a most excellent performer. This would be the time to be very picky about what would be on my hip during my recovery, when I would be out among the English, and while I would be defending the home turf.
One of my top choices these days for defensive pistols is Glock. This is not because I think Glock pistols are any better than other pistols. It is simply because I live about an hour’s drive to the Glock facility in Smyrna, Georgia. If I have any issue with a Glock pistol, a short drive and I can get it rectified. My second choice in polymer pistols is Springfield Armory, simply because they are of high quality. When it comes to 1911 pistols, it’s is whoever may the best wins, as all are single-stack (with one exception that I know of) and that means the competition door is wide open. I must admit to having a favorite 9mm 1911 in consideration right now, and it will take one hell of a 1911 to knock it from the “King of the Hill.” And, when it comes to 1911 9mm pistols, there is enough fodder for a completely new article. For the 1911 pistols, I had to set a ceiling of around $1500, since that would allow me a lot of leeway between the least-priced pistol and something that would not break the bank – too much. There are still a lot of 1911 pistols within that ceiling limit, but I am going to limit my list as much as possible. A couple of 1911 pistols that will be listed, I already have, but they may or may not be selected as a finalist.
So, let’s get started on the list. I want to make a note that the list is in no real order as to preference of pistols within categories, but I do list the categories in alphabetical order.
I would have to slap myself silly if I neglected Colt single-action 1911 pistols in my listing.
Defender, Combat Commander
The Colt Combat Commander (shown above) is a true 9mm heavy weight. Carbon Steel Blued frame and slide and Stainless-Steel barrel are ready for rugged use. Dual Spring Recoil System reduces felt recoil while extending recoil spring life. Custom G10 Grips and Upswept Beavertail Grip Safety make for a capable carry gun that is equally comfortable on the range. The Colt Combat Commander has a 9+1 capacity and an MSRP of $999. The Combat Commander has a 4.25-inch barrel while the Defender (not shown) has a 3” barrel and the capacity is reduced to 7+1. Both the Defender and Combat Commander pistols are Series 80. Click here for Combat Commander info and here for Defender info.
Competition SS (9MM)
I have shot the .45 ACP version of this pistol and if that is any indication, then the Colt Competition SS in 9mm is one sweet shooter. The blue/black G10 grips set it apart from others. The MSRP, as with the Defender and Combat Commander, is $999. The all stainless pistol weighs in at 36 ounces. The Colt Competition SS in 9mm is a Series 70 design. Click here for more information.
Dan Wesson is a premiere 1911 manufacturer who’s products border on the custom. While DW has an impressive line of 9mm 1911 pistols, two up for consideration is the Pointman PM9 (5″) and the Pointman Carry PM-C (4.25″) (both stainless) followed by the Vigil (5″) and Vigil CCO (4.25″). Pointman PM9 and the Pointman Carry PM-C barely exceed my ceiling at $1,597, but negotiations could probably knock them down at or below my ceiling. The Vigil and Vigil CCO both come in under my ceiling at $1,298. Click here for Dan Wesson 1911 details.
Glock pistols are a top choice with me simply because of my proximity to the Glock facility in Smyrna, Georgia. I don’t consider them better than any other pistol, but their spartan looks appeal to me.
The Glock G48 would be an excellent single-stack 9mm choice. It is approximately the same size as a G19 with a 4.17” barrel; albeit slimmer and holds 10+1 rounds of your favorite 9mm fodder. It is said that it is the same approximate size as a ‘Commander’ 1911, which lends itself nicely to concealed carry. First available as a “Silverback” with a silver-colored slide, on July 22, 2019 the all black version was made available. Personally, I think that the latter will be the best seller as black Glock pistols are what we have come to expect from Glock. Click here for “Silverback” information and here for “Black Is Back” information.
Essentially the same as the G48 only with a 3.41” barrel. Very concealable but hosts 10+1 rounds. As with the G48, GEN5 updates abound.
The G43 was knocked out of contention with the G43X, due to the reduced capacity of the G43, although it is an excellent shooting pistol. By the way, the G43X “Silverback” is being replaced by a “Black is Back” version.
Kimber, of course, is a premier manufacturer of 1911 pistols and the two example I provide are indicative of the quality Kimber puts into their line of 1911 pistols.
Stainless Raptor II
The Kimber Stainless Raptor II, at an MSRP of $1464, is certainly pushing my ceiling for a 9mm pistol. What sets it aside is, of course, the styling. With a basic loadout of 9 +1 rounds and 3-dot tritium sights, the all stainless-steel ‘Raptor’ would be an excellent personal defender. Click here for more information.
Stepping down a bit in the Kimber price range, I like the simplicity of the Kimber Stainless II pistol. At a MSRP of $912, the all stainless-steel Stainless II. The basic loadout of 9+1 rounds, of course, can be increased with the use of third-party magazines that would up the anti to 10+1. Click here for more Kimber Stainless II information.
As if there were not plenty of single-stack 9mm pistols, we can also add one from Mossberg; the MC1sc.
Mossberg MC1sc TRUGLO Tritium PRO Sights
The Mossberg MC1sc, with TRUGLO Tritium PRO sights, which is new for 2019, retails out at $526. Equipped with a 3.40″ barrel and a 6-Round Flush-Fit / 7-Round Extended magazine, this sub-compact pistol has yet to be tested, although reviews have been favorable.
While I am not a big Remington fan, there are two 1911 pistols that could be in contention for top spot as a 9mm single-stack carry. Both are “Enhanced” Remington R1 1911 pistols. Trying to search through the Remington website and catalog was bad enough to make my eyes cross, but here the scoop that I have.
Enhanced (Item 96364)
The Remington R1 Enhanced is a full-size single-stack 9mm 1911 with a capacity of 9+1 and a price tag of $903. Click here for detail.
Enhanced Limited (Item 96718 )
The difference between the R1 Enhanced and the R1 Enhanced Limited reminds me of the upgrades to the Rock Island Armory FS Tactical with the “Ultra” FS Tactical. But with a price tag of $1,399, I would say that Remington values its upgrades more than RIA does theirs. I could not find it on Remington’s website, but it was in the catalog. This may have been discontinued; however, it is currently available at the Davidson’s website.
ROCK ISLAND ARMORY
Rock Island Armory (Armscor) has been making 1911 pistols for quite a long time and may be underrated by most.
The ‘Rock’ Standard FS Tactical in 9mm is a highly-efficient launcher of 9mm projectile and the “Ultra” series adds some upgrades to an already excellent pistol. And, both the ‘Standard’ and ‘Ultra’ 9mm pistols are excellent values for the money.
ROCK Ultra FS – 9mm (Item 51623)
If you are into full-size 1911 carry, I can recommend the Rock Island Armory (Armscor) Rock “Ultra” FS in 9mm. For an MSRP of $722, the “Ultra” brings a lot of valued features to the table. The pistol is accurate and reliable and is more than adequate for protecting your bacon or hacienda. Click here for more information.
In 2011, Ruger began introducing a line of 1911 pistols. Before then, they also had an excellent line of single-stack pistols in 9mm, .40 Smith & Wesson, and .45 ACP, the ‘SR’ series.
SR9 and SR9C
The SR9 and SR9c are no longer manufactured by Ruger, but still can be found. They are excellent single-stack 9mm pistols and both have excellent triggers. Ruger; however, decided to discontinue the SR9 series of pistols. The SR9; however, is still available at Cabela’s for around $499.
At a MSRP of $299, the EC9s is a highly affordable single-stack, striker-fired 9mm pistol with 7-rounds at your disposal. With a 3″ barrel, the EX9s is a highly compact pistol. Click here for more information.
SR1911 Commander 9mm
The SR1911 Commander in 9mm offering is a lightweight pistol with a capacity of 10+1. Built to Ruger’s rugged specifications, the SR1911 is a pleasure to shoot. For a beginner, the SR1911 in 9mm would be an excellent introduction to the 1911 pistol and to the 9mm cartridge. For seasoned users, the SR1911 in 9mm is an excellent choice for an EDC. With a suggested retail at $979.00, you get Ruger quality in a lightweight PDA. Click here for more information. (Author’s Note: I like the fact that the Ruger does not come with a Fiber front sight.)
Sig-Sauer, of course, has long been a major player in the 9mm playground. On January 19, 2017, it was announced that a customized version of the SIG Sauer P320 had won the United States Army’s XM17 Modular Handgun System competition. However, I am keeping this article restricted to single-stack 9mm pistols, and I include two examples that I think are viable candidates for EDC.
The Sig Sauer P239, now discontinued, was one of the finest single-stack compact 9mm pistol made by Sig Sauer. It is a full steel (heavy) pistol that make shooting the 9mm cartridge a walk in the park. You can still find them in the marketplace. Click here for more information.
P225-A1 Nitron Compact
This lightweight (steel slide, alloy frame), 8-round 9mm single stack magazine allows the pistol to maintain a slim profile for conceal carry. SIGLITE Night Sights allow you to experience excellent target acquisition even in low light and poor visibility conditions. MSRP is $1,032.00 through Davidsons Gun Genie but can be had for less using the Gun Genie ‘search’ function for your zip code. A search for my zip code revealed a price of $879.99 through one of my favorite gun shops. Click here for more information.
The Sig Sauer line of 9mm 1911 pistol consist of four models; the 1911 Ultra Compact Nickel at $979.99, the 1911 Max Full-Size (competition) at $1,663.00, the 1911 Match Elite Stainless Full-Size at $1,164.00 (my favorite), and the 1911 Two-Tone Ultra-Compact at $1,119.00. The 1911 Two-Tone Ultra-Compact is more in line with the Springfield Armory EMP; whereas, the 1911 Match Elite Stainless Full-Size might along the same line as the Springfield Armory Range Officer. Since I like a full-size 1911, the 1911 Match Elite Stainless Full-Size would be my choice, although it comes with target sights (more on that later).
Smith and Wesson
I have to say that I am not a fan of Smith and Wesson polymer pistols; however, I do have to give them a fair shot of being rewarded with my 9mm PDA gun of the year.
M&P 9 Shield
At a MSRP of $367, the Smith and Wesson M&P 9 Shield is a viable choice for a single stack 9mm companion. With a capacity of 7+1 or 8+1, it is in-line with most compact 9mm pistols. The 3.1” barrel certainly qualifies it for sub-compact status. Click here for more information.
PERFORMANCE CENTER® SW1911 PRO SERIES® (Item 178017)
Here is one 1911 that exceeds my price ceiling of $1500, the PERFORMANCE CENTER® SW1911 PRO SERIES® in 9mm. However, I can get it for $1,403.46 through Davidson’s Gun Genie, and maybe for less than that, if I can dicker with my gun club, of which I am a member. That would bring the cost of the pistol under my ceiling. At a suggested retail price of $1,579, you had better hope for a lot of pistol. Fortunately, that’s what you get. Having shot this pistol, I can attest to the accuracy and quality of this 1911. This pistol borders on that thin line between production vs. custom (a pre-custom?). As an everyday carry, some would discount this one as too expensive to be subjected to the daily rigors of concealed carry. Others might say, “To what cost is your life worth?” Click here for more information. Click here to read a review of one.
Springfield Armory has an excellent reputation for producing/importing high-quality firearms. The XD series is, of course, made in Croatia and imported by Springfield Armory. In the 9mm single stack 9mm category, the product line from Springfield Armory is impressive, and I could probably could say simply look at any one of them. 1911 pistols are included; however, because I have a personal preference not to have rails on a 1911 pistol, you won’t find them listed. If you like a 1911 with a rail, I invite you to peruse the Springfield Armory site and you can click here to go to it.
XD-E™ 4.5″ Single Stack – 9mm
A double-action/single-action (DA/SA), hammer-fired pistol with a 4.5” barrel would be my choice. The XD-E pistol is also available in 3.3” and 3.8” barrel lengths. I have not had an opportunity to shoot one so I have no idea what the double-action or single-action trigger pull weight might be, although one review stated that double-action weight is about 10 pounds with a single-action pull weight at 4 ¾ pounds. The XD-E comes with one 8-Round magazine and one 9-Round magazine w/ Mag Extension. Magazines are Stainless Steel. The frame is black polymer w/ enhanced grip texture. The XDE is equipped with a thumb safety w/ integrated de-cocker. A MSRP of $542.00 makes it a very affordable pistol. Click here for details.
The striker-fired XDs 4.0 is no longer in production from Springfield Armory, but still can be found in the marketplace. The XDs 4.0, and former 3.3 model, have been replaced by the XD-S MOD.2® Single Stack Series, a 3.3-inch barreled version (shown below). With capacities from 7 to 9 rounds, the XDs is an excellent performer. The XDs carries a MSRP of $586. Click here for more information.
XD-S MOD.2® Single Stack Series
The XD-S MOD.2® Single Stack Series, shown above, is a replacement for the XDs 3.3 and 4.0 series of pistols in 9mm. There are nine variations of this pistol. My choice would be the XD-S Mod.2® 9mm w/ Tritium (XDSG9339BT) that is fitted with Pro-Glo™ Tritium/Luminescent Front & Tactical Rack Serrated Rear sights. MSRP is $574 (source: Springfield Armory), but with savvy shopping it could be bought for less.
The Springfield EMP is a popular 1911-based sub-compact pistol. Although the barrel length is only 3”, the three 9 Round, Stainless Steel with Slam Pad magazines that comes with it ensures you that enough capacity is at hand. It comes with Low Profile Combat, 3 – Dot Tritium sights and a hefty MSRP of $1,249.00 (stainless version) but can be found ($1,079.15 for me) less if you do your shopping. Click here for more information.
EMP 4″ Lightweight Champion
The EMP 4″ Lightweight Champion is a likely candidate for a premium single-stack 9mm carry pistol. The all-new 4″ Lightweight Champion™ offers a longer four-inch barrel that presents increased sight radius and more practical accuracy. Let’s not forget the extra velocity the longer barrel adds to any given cartridge. It comes with three 10-round magazines with slam pads and a MSRP of $1,177.00. Click here for detail.
1911 Range Officer® Champion 9mm
A second option, if you prefer something with a longer barrel than 3”, is the 1911 Range Officer® Champion 9mm, with a 4” barrel. Weighing in at 31.5 ounces, the 1911 Range Officer® Champion 9mm would be a sweet carry option. The pistol comes with two 9-round magazines and an MSRP of MSRP $924.00. I have the .45 ACP version and it is a great shooter; albeit, round count is at an “Officer” level of 6 cartridges. Click here for more information about the 1911 Range Officer Champion in 9mm. An alternative could be the 1911 Range Officer® Compact 9mm with an 8+1 round capacity and a little lesser weight. Click here for 1911 Range Officer® Compact 9mm.
In addition to the above there is the; 1911 Range Officer® Model, 1911 Range Officer® Elite Compact, 1911 Range Officer® Elite Champion™, 1911 Range Officer® Elite Operator®, and the 1911 Range Officer® Elite Target. For information regarding these model, please view the Springfield 1911 Series and select the desired pistol.
WRAPPING THINGS UP
At this point, I am starting to get way long in the tooth with the article. There are many more manufactures that make fine single-stack 9mm pistols, but I have tried to narrow things down to my preferences, which may differ with your preferences, but that’s alright; there are many resources on the WWW to help you locate information about your favorite, or desired, single-stack 9mm pistol.
You may note that some of my ‘preference’ pistols may incorporate target rear sights rather than ‘combat’ or low-profile fixed sights. Most target sights these days are low-profile, although they may take up more real estate than say a low-profile 2-dot rear sight. When experimenting with different ammunition, an adjustable sight makes sense. If the adjustable sight are of a low-profile, which helps mitigate damage to the sight, I am alright with having an adjustable sight on a defensive pistol.
All can be carried concealed or not and holsters abound for all. So, here you have the somewhat long and short of it all when it comes to my list of single-stack 9mm pistols.
I hope that my list of personal preferences, and link to finding information for them, has helped you in your search for a single-stack 9mm pistol companion.
I certaintly did not want to turn this list into a list of “what’s what” in the 9mm 1911 world. It just so happens that there are a lot of 1911 choices out there in 9mm. There are plenty that I did not include.
By the way, you may have noted that I did not chose a finalist. That, my friends, is a topic for a later article.