In the automotive world, you have the endless Ford vs. Chevy debate. (Classic Mustangs rule, of course). In the culinary world, there’s an endless debate about whether pineapple belongs on pizza. (Of course it does; Hawaiian pizza is da’ bomb, ‘cuz my girlfriend Lisa and I both say so!).
In the firearm world, you have endless debates such as revolver vs. semiautomatic pistol, AK-47 vs. M16, single-action vs. traditional double-action (TDA) vs. safe-action (striker-fired) … and, of course, the infamous 9mm Parabellum vs. 45 ACP issue.
For a lot of members of the pro-.45/anti-9mm contingent, it’s as much about their love of the M1911 pistol as for the .45 ACP cartridge. In my observations, fans of non-1911 .45 autos like the Glock 21SF, SIG Sauer P220, and Beretta PX4 Storm are less hateful toward 9mm.
I wonder how many of these M1911/.45 ACP tandem cultists realize that their beloved pistol platform has for many decades also been chambered for the cartridge that they hate so much. They’re probably gonna send an exorcist my way for spouting such heresy, but the fact remains that 9mm M1911 pistols are a reality, they’re not an oxymoron, and they’re here to stay.
Old-School: Colt Government Model
Seeing how Colt was the first manufacturer to produce the M1911, it only makes sense that they’d lead the way with the 9mm version. For good measure, they produced the first .38 Super and 10mm versions of the gun. Unfortunately, I was unable to get ahold of a Colt 9mm to try out for this article, so instead, I have to turn to the venerable Wiley Clapp and Dean A. Grennell and their 1986 book “The Gun Digest Book of 9mm Handguns”:
“The 9mmP handles, functions and feels exactly like the .45 … Dean Grennell’s pet 9mm colt has an MMC rear sight, fancy pearl grips. The fancy Colt shoots fancy groups.”
How fancy. Divviyng their accuracy testing into 5-shot, 25-yard groups, the authors got 2.25” groups with 115-grain Winchester Silvertip hollowpoints, 1.75” with Federal 9BP 115-grain jacketed hollowpoints, and 2.50” with Federal 9AP 123-grain full metal jacket (FMJ).
New School: Staccato 2011
So then, two 1911 9mils I was able to get ahold of and test-fire come from the Stacatto 2011 series – obviously meant to honor the then-100th birthday of the M1911 as well as labeling themselves as the ultramodern refinement of the classic concept.
To be brutally honest, I’d never even heard of the Staccato brand until a few months ago. (Hey c’mon, gimme a break; until I actually started getting paid to write about guns thanks to 19FortyFive, I was perfectly content to blast away with my old-school “D’Orr-senal of Democracy” rather than try to keep up with all the newfangled stuff.)
The full-size, i.e. Government Model equivalent is the “P” model, while the compact/midsize version (the Commander equivalent) is the “C2” model. Of the former, the manufacturer proudly proclaims that “The Staccato P is approved for duty by more than 1,300+ law enforcement agencies and carried by elite units like the Texas Rangers and the US Marshals Special Operations Group;” of the latter, “The Staccato C2 has quickly redefined what’s possible with a compact carry gun. From the retired special forces veteran shooting consistent 100-yard shots in sub 4 seconds to the everyday range shooter hitting 25-yard-targets with ease.”
On a visit to Cindy’s Hot Shots at their newly-opened second facility (previously known under the old management as On Target), in Severn, Maryland, the super-friendly staff hooked me up with their rental Staccato Model P and C2.
Ammo-wise, I used 50 rounds of PMC Bronze 124-grain FMJ for each gun. The test fire was divvied into 25 rounds of head shots at 21’ and 25 rounds of center-torso shots at 75’, all delivered from the Classic Weaver Stance. The target used was the B27E Target-w/ Vital Organs from Baker Targets.
Accuracy-wise, the excellent Dawson Precision fiberoptic sights and delightfully crisp trigger were hugely beneficial; a green fiberoptic dot on the P and a red on the C2. At 7 yards, they enabled me to obliterate the cerebrum and medulla oblongata with the former gun and the cerebrum with the latter. At 25 yards, the P got me seven 10-ring hits, fourteen 9-ring, one 8-ring, two 7-ring, and one lousy whiff wherein I lost concentration; with the C2, I got five in the 10-ring, nine 9-ring, eight 8-ring, one 7-ring, and two in the non-scoring portion of the silhouette. The awry shots were MY fault, NOT the gun’s!
Only gripes are that the P thrice failed to go to slidelock on the last shot, while the C2 took a bit of “oomph” to seat properly in the mag well.
Want Your Own?
True Gun Value states that “A STACCATO P pistol is currently worth an average price of $2,526.91 new and $2,209.80 used. The 12-month average price is $2,495.49 new and $2,042.37 used” whilst “A STACCATO C2 pistol is currently worth an average price of $2,301.94 new and $2,163.94 used. The 12-month average price is $2,301.94 new and $2,147.30 used.”
Guns.Com has a bunch of Staccato Ps listed, starting as (comparatively) low as $1,999.99 and then eventually shooting (bad pun intended) all the way up to more than double that at $3999.99; the same website lists over a dozen Staccato C2s, starting at $2,199.99 and ranging up to $3,337.99.
As far as the Colt Government Model, if you want to stick with a bona fide Series 70 like the aforementioned gun belonging to the dearly dolorously departed Dean Grennell, True Gun Value says that “A COLT SERIES 70 9MM pistol is currently worth an average price of $1,116.63 new. The 12-month average price is $1,116.63 new.” Meanwhile, Colt’s official website currently lists both the Combat Elite Government 9mm and Combat Elite Commander 9mm alike at an MSRP of $1,399.00.
Christian D. Orr is a Senior Defense Editor for 19FortyFive. He has 34 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.