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  #1  
Old 02-20-2020, 02:44 PM
Robin Hood Robin Hood is offline
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First 9mm 1911 build, is it worth it?

I have a few questions in regards to this and yes I know this seems like a strange question, but hear me out, I would really like some honest opinions.

First, can I use my .38 super finishing reamer to finish ream a 9mm barrel to the appropriate depth or would I need to actually get a 9mm finishing reamer?

Second, to those that started out building .45’s like I have mostly done and have then went on to build 9mm 1911’s, is it really worth the $ to have a heavy 9mm that only holds 9-10 rounds?

Third, I’ve never had issues with .45 builds once, feeding has always been 100% reliable along with ejection and accuracy. Are 9mm 1911’s as reliable as .45’s? I find just the fact that the mags are crimped short to accommodate the shorter length 9mm rounds a little disturbing as it is, but I would like to build a tri-top commander and was told that it isn’t possible to take that much weight off a commander slide and still have normal timing in a .45. Is this complete nonsense or have others here experiences tri-top .45 commanders eject erratically? If it is possible what is the best spring combo? It’s just hard for me to believe that a tri-top .45 isn’t doable.

Anyways, I’m really split between trying a 9mm build mostly for the sake of the ammo being more affordable and doing another .45 build. BTW, I will be using an officer frame with commander slide. If I do build a 9mm, what would the barrel of choice be between, Bar-Sto, KKM, Wilson, or Storm Lake?

Has anyone tried Jem’s new slides yet and if so how do they compare to other slides such as NHC? I have quite a few left over parts from .38 S builds that I could use in a 9mm so it would save some $ there, but I’d really like some honesty here. I want to know that it’s possible to build a 100% reliable 9mm 1911 even if it’s being limp wristed.

I don’t really care about ballistics with this build. I’ve heard that 1911 9mm’s can be fun to shoot because of the added weight making them less snappy. I prefer my .45 over .38S because of the softer recoil of the .45.

This question really goes beyond “just a matter of preference.” I have plenty of 9mm carry pistols that are 100% reliable, but if there is something special about 9mm in 1911 form I would like to know what other builders in here think. I see more and more 9mm’s being built
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2020, 04:29 AM
DesmoAndrew DesmoAndrew is offline
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As to your 2nd question, like almost everything else, it depends on you.

"Second, to those that started out building .45’s like I have mostly done and have then went on to build 9mm 1911’s, is it really worth the $ to have a heavy 9mm that only holds 9-10 rounds?"

Building your own 9mm comes down to enjoying the process and getting a pistol that has the exact features you want. Hard to put a $ value to that. I still get a kick out of answering the question of "what make" and saying "mine." None of my pistol builds got me to a cheaper price per se.

As for shooting a "heavy 9mm," I enjoy shooting them in the 1911 platform (more so than my poly guns) and there are days I really don't feel like picking up brass at the range and the 9mm fits that niche for me - it's not worth reloading for my uses. For 45, I enjoy loads/ammo that aren't available commercially. I usually feel compelled to pick up my 45 brass. I'm not as picky on the 9mm.
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  #3  
Old 02-21-2020, 04:51 AM
Rwehavinfunyet Rwehavinfunyet is offline
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Building a 1911 9mm

I think your question of reaming a barrel is dependent on the bore size of the barrel.... Since a 9mm cartridge is a tapered case, and the .38 super case is straight walled, I would call and talk to the folks at Dave Manson Precision reamers.....I used a Dave Manson finishing reamer for a 9mm barrel that was "short chambered." Although an empty 9mm brass case would seat in the chamber to the correct depth and "flush" with the end of the barrel hood extension, I had to add a bit of "free bore" since the barrel lands and grooves were right up to the end of the chamber, and the ogive of the .355" bullets would not seat properly in the barrel chamber since it was wedging into the barrel lands and grooves....

I build my own 1911/2011 handguns to suit my needs and objectives.

I have guns built for specific competitive pistol shooting..... my USPSA STI 2011 race gun with frame mounted C-More railway optics and STI Tru Bore barrel with comp shooting 9mm Major loads in the USPSA Open division is one example.

My concealed carry gun I built is an STI 2011 Commander .38 super that holds 16+1 rounds of hot loaded JHP Speer Gold Dot bullets with a flush fit 120mm mag.....I had to make a slight modification on the lower end of the polymer grip, but did not change the mainspring housing......

I have built other "range toys" as well.....! My most recent build is an all steel 5" slide 1911 9mm with a Burris Fast Fire III optical rear sight with an 8 MOA red dot. I will start shooting this in the IDPA Carry Optics gun division. My 68 year old eyes just don't see the front sights as good as when I was 30 years younger!

I have an order for a KKM W/N ramped 9mm barrel with a 1:32 twist.....this is designed to be used with 115 gr. bullets, and if I do a good job fitting the barrel, it should give outstanding accuracy! We shall see!

Last edited by Rwehavinfunyet; 02-21-2020 at 05:08 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:56 AM
weaselfire weaselfire is offline
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If you're asking whether building any gun is worthwhile in monetary terms, the answer is always no.

If you're asking if a specific build is worth it to you, nobody can answer since none of us are you.

As for the rest, use the proper tools for what you're doing.

Jeff

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  #5  
Old 02-21-2020, 11:10 PM
BBBBill BBBBill is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post
can I use my .38 super finishing reamer to finish ream a 9mm barrel to the appropriate depth or would I need to actually get a 9mm finishing reamer?

Second, is it really worth the $ to have a heavy 9mm that only holds 9-10 rounds?

Third Are 9mm 1911s as reliable as .45s?

If I do build a 9mm, what would the barrel of choice be between, Bar-Sto, KKM, Wilson, or Storm Lake?
First - Depends on the 9mm barrel, whether is was finish reamed or short/rough chambered, and the specific reamer used. If a regular 9mm finish reamer was used and the chamber final reamed then you should look elsewhere for a barrel as that one will be cut too big at the rear to properly support the case. 9mm Luger is a tapered case that is .007+" larger at the base than 38Super. You will get too much case expansion. A barrel that is not finish reamed can be evaluated to see if it has enough remaining material to leave a fully supported chamber.

Second - Only you can say if it is worth it for you. It is definitely worth it to some folks.

Third - In my experience, yes. Like anything else, depends on the execution. Get something wrong and it won't be reliable. Get it right and it will be.

I would not run away from any of those barrels. Of those listed my first choice would be BarSto. I have used Wilson with nice results in the past. My personal preference is Kart.
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  #6  
Old 02-22-2020, 08:22 AM
Magnumite Magnumite is offline
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Early during the ‘Big Anti-Gun Gov’t Event of 2012-14’ I looked behind me at the range and saw lotsa cases. From reloaded 45 ammo. The gears turned, cash amounts were estimated, and I regretted selling the Springer Mil Spec 9 I had built up some. I remembered the character of the 9 and determined I regretted it even more.

If weight and 9-10 round capacity bother you buy a Glock or Ruger Sec 9 and be done with it. The shooting character of a 5” 9mm 1911 is very pleasant. It is alluring if you give it a chance for at least a few trips to the range. I am a 45 ACP in a 1911 guy and I can say for shooting steel and such, the 9 is a winner and actually better than a down loaded 45 (I feel blasphemous to myself saying that). The 5” 9mm gets the range nod for most of the 1911 shooting nowadays. One or two of the 45’s goes along and gets shot for fun, or for pins or other competitive major caliber ills, those are the written prescriptions.

You will not save money as already mentioned building your own. It will cost you more for a good build. I would stay away from the less expensive kits, ultimately you will probably change most of the components anyway. If cost is a major concern, buy a Ruger, Springer or RIA. Leave the RIA as is forever and ‘improve’ or refine the first two if you like. Or some other make already built with the features you like.

I haven’t deviated any from building or tuning a 9 as opposed to a 45. A couple little things here and there to keep in dimensionally but for me it has been a straight forward process. Any good mag with decent spring strength works. Maybe I’m lucky...but I’ll take it!!! I have only tuned, built and shoot 5”” 1911’s in 9mm so cannot vouch for any other length
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The modern production 1911 - high visibility sights, beavertail grip safety, aluminum trigger, good trigger pull, enhanced slide/ frame fit, accurized barrel/bushing fit. If its not a Kimber, its a copy.

Last edited by Magnumite; 02-22-2020 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Mangey spelling
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  #7  
Old 02-22-2020, 08:37 PM
NHoxworth NHoxworth is offline
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I can't speak to a self built gun or a commander size, but I did some tinkering on a full size SA RO Elite Operator in 9mm. After some extractor tuning and a barrel ream to SAMMI spec, it will run limp wrists no issue (at least while I preformed the 10-8 live fire extractor test) with Wilson mags.
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2020, 12:57 PM
Shorikid Shorikid is offline
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I have one build under my belt. A CCO built on a JEM aluminum frame, Remsport slide, and a Nowlin W/N ramped barrel. After sorting out issues with trigger travel and a hammer strut rubbing the grip safety, and putting a very light chamfered radius on the edge of the feed ramp, I have had no feeding issues. I did not need to finish ream the barrel. It was a "prefit" kit, but I had to fit the lower lugs some, and touch up the upper lugs a bit. I'm using a .38 super ejector and Wilson magazines.

I would not hesitate to shoot an all steel 9mm. With that weight , it should shoot flat and have very soft recoil. Lots of 1911 makers sell plenty of them.

On a personal note, I have absolutely fallen in love with the CCO size pistol. It seems to be the perfect size, fitting and balancing like a dream. Carrying it after several years of carrying a steel government model, the pistol isn't even there.

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  #9  
Old 02-24-2020, 05:52 PM
coyotebuster coyotebuster is offline
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While I don't have a self built 9MM 1911, I do have one in .38 Super I built in 2018. I also have a BarSto 9MM barrel that I fit to my .38 Super XSE Commander for the wife, and daughters to use in their all ladies defensive pistol classes.
I've found that owning and shooting 9MM 1911's gives the benefit of cheap ammo, and reduced recoil that makes the guns more inviting to those who are more recoil sensitive. I now own three 1911's that are capable of shooting 9MM. The BarSto barrel I used in my Commander shoots as accurately as the original factory Colt barrel.
As for the value of a sub caliber build such as a 9MM or a .38 Super, speaking from my own experience, I can say it was very much worth it in my case. The .38 Super 1911 I built is like you mention, a CCO. I used a Colt slide and a factory Colt barrel. I fit it to a lightweight Caspian Officer's receiver. I ordered the frame from Caspian with a checkered front strap, and an integral plunger tube as options. I used small parts from Wilson Combat, S&A, and Harrison Design. I had my Colt slide refinished by Ford's, and after I fit the refinished slide to the receiver, and assembled the entire gun so it could be test fired, I had my gunsmith round the butt of the frame for a WC rounded MSH, and finish fit my grip safety. He then smoothed out some sharp edges on the frame and sent it out to be anodized. By the time I was finished, my investment in the gun was just under 2K. The pistol shoots great, and is just about to pretty to carry. The pistol feels better in my hand than any other 1911 I own.
Building my own sub caliber 1911 was a very satisfying experience, and I ended up with a very unique 1911.

Last edited by coyotebuster; 02-24-2020 at 05:59 PM.
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  #10  
Old 02-24-2020, 06:07 PM
coyotebuster coyotebuster is offline
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While I don't have a self built 9MM 1911, I do have one in .38 Super I built in 2018. I also have a BarSto 9MM barrel that I fit to my .38 Super XSE Commander for the wife, and daughters to use in their all ladies defensive pistol classes.
I've found that owning and shooting 9MM 1911's gives the benefit of cheap ammo, and reduced recoil that makes the guns more inviting to those who are more recoil sensitive. I now own three 1911's that are capable of shooting 9MM.
As for the value of a sub caliber build such as a 9MM or a .38 Super, speaking from my own experience, I can say it was very much worth it in my case. The .38 Super CCO I built is like you mention, a CCO. I used a Colt slide and a factory Colt barrel. I fit it to a lightweight Caspian Officer's receiver. I ordered the frame from Caspian with a checkered front strap, and an integral plunger tube as options. I used small parts from Wilson Combat, S&A, and Harrison Design. I had my Colt slide refinished by Ford's, and after I fit the refinished slide to the receiver, and assembled the entire gun so it could be test fired, I had my gunsmith round the butt of the frame for a WC rounded MSH, and finish fit my grip safety. He then smoothed out some sharp edges on the frame and sent it out to be anodized. By the time I was finished, my investment in the gun was just under 2K. The pistol shoots great, and is just about to pretty to carry. The pistol feels better in my hand than any other 1911 I own.
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  #11  
Old 02-24-2020, 06:51 PM
coyotebuster coyotebuster is offline
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While I don't have a self built 9MM 1911, I do have one in .38 Super I built in 2018. I also have a BarSto 9MM barrel that I fit to my .38 Super XSE Commander for the wife, and daughters to use in their all ladies defensive pistol classes.
I've found that owning and shooting 9MM 1911's gives the benefit of cheap ammo, and reduced recoil that makes the guns more inviting to those who are more recoil sensitive. I now own three 1911's that are capable of shooting 9MM.
As for the value of a sub caliber build such as a 9MM or a .38 Super, speaking from my own experience, I can say it was very much worth it in my case. The .38 Super CCO I built is like you mention, a CCO. I used a Colt slide and a factory Colt barrel. I fit it to a lightweight Caspian Officer's receiver. I ordered the frame from Caspian with a checkered front strap, and an integral plunger tube as options. I used small parts from Wilson Combat, S&A, and Harrison Design. I had my Colt slide refinished by Ford's, and after I fit the refinished slide to the receiver, and assembled the entire gun so it could be test fired, I had my gunsmith round the butt of the frame for a WC rounded MSH, and finish fit my grip safety. He then smoothed out some sharp edges on the frame and sent it out to be anodized. By the time I was finished, my investment in the gun was just under 2K. The pistol shoots great, and is just about to pretty to carry. The pistol feels better in my hand than any other 1911 I own.
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2020, 09:37 PM
Robin Hood Robin Hood is offline
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I suppose the best way to go about doing this is to take one of my .38 super 5" and slap a 9mm barrel in it! Change some springs and get some new mags. Why I never thought of that I will never know.
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  #13  
Old 02-25-2020, 04:06 AM
Rwehavinfunyet Rwehavinfunyet is offline
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1911 9mm guns....

I have built several different 1911 and STI 2011 guns chambered for 9mm. For best reliability, I always use a long extended ejector, which is longer than a .38 super or .40 S&W ejector...… The long extended ejector gets the fired 9mm case to eject out of the gun faster, and will not interfere with the top round feeding from the mag.....which improves overall reliability...… When purchasing a 9mm barrel, it may or may not require a finishing reamer...…

Last edited by Rwehavinfunyet; 02-25-2020 at 04:08 AM.
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  #14  
Old 02-25-2020, 09:29 AM
Robin Hood Robin Hood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwehavinfunyet View Post
I have built several different 1911 and STI 2011 guns chambered for 9mm. For best reliability, I always use a long extended ejector, which is longer than a .38 super or .40 S&W ejector...… The long extended ejector gets the fired 9mm case to eject out of the gun faster, and will not interfere with the top round feeding from the mag.....which improves overall reliability...… When purchasing a 9mm barrel, it may or may not require a finishing reamer...… [IMG class=inlineimg]https://forums.1911forum.com/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG]
I put a 9mm EGW extended ejector in the .38S and cut it back until I got the ejection I liked. I believe there is still more than enough length there to eject 9mm. Typically I believe a .38S ejector is about even with the back of the magazine. My ejector sticks out passed the magazine maybe .25.” Worth a try anyway and I do have another full length ejector if needed. Who would make a match barrel that doesn’t need finish reaming? I always cut my lower lugs so I don’t want to use a drop-in barrel. I figure if I use a Kart barrel then there would be a good possibility that I wouldn’t have to change the BB if the o.d. of the barrel is within .0005.”
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