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Old July 18, 2018, 10:28 AM   #1
rman43
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9mm Dilemma

Three 9mm Duty-sized pistols - which one is best?

S&W M&P9 2.0 Compact

Lightweight, high capacity (15 + 1), good trigger for a striker-fired pistol, good sights, 4 changeable back panels.

HK VP9

Lightweight, high capacity (15 + 1), good trigger for a striker-fired pistol, good sights, 3 changeable back panels, 6 changeable side panels.

Ruger SR1911 Lwt Cmdr

Lightweight, medium capacity (9 + 1), great 1911 single action trigger, good sights. Main spring housing can be changed from straight to arched, Trigger can be changed from long, to medium, to short. Grips can be changed to any grip that fits a Commander or full-sized 1911 (without ambidextrous safeties).

Summary

These guns are all approximately the same size. The 1911 is somewhat slimmer, but only holds a total of 10 rounds, as opposed to the other 2 that hold 16.

The 1911 has a grip safety and a manual safety, while the other 2 have only trigger actuated safeties.

The M&P and HK come with replacement grip panels. The M&P has 4 back panels - small, medium, medium large and large. The HK comes with 3 back panels and 6 side panels - small, medium and large. The 1911 comes with no changeable grip features. Any change to the grips or backstrap must be purchased. All of these 9mm's have good grips. The grip texture of the M&P is the most aggressive and provides the most secure grip.

All of these guns have custom triggers available from 3rd party suppliers.

The HK sights are 3 green luminescent dots. These are the most visible of the 3 in daylight. If a bright light is shown on them for a second or two, they glow in the dark for awhile. The other 2 have plain white 3 dot sights. (All of them are good sights for daylight work.)

The 1911 and M&P have conventional magazine releases on the left side only. The HK has paddle style releases on both sides.

All of them are natural pointers, accurate and so far, have been reliable. All 3 of them fit in the same Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 holster, and all conceal well in that holster

So which one is best? Darned if I know. Which one do I like best? Darned if I know. I guess whichever one I'm shooting at the time. Can you decide? I can't.
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Old July 18, 2018, 10:48 AM   #2
BarryLee
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I have the VP9 and a few 1911s. The reality is the VP9 is overall probably a better choice for self defense based on capacity and reliability. However, the 1911 just has that emotional attraction and pure shooting fun that many of us are attracted to.

I will add that I have recently reverted back to my trusty GLOCK G26 for ease of carry/concealment in the summer months.


Bottom line I guess its good to have choices.
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Old July 18, 2018, 03:48 PM   #3
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It would just depend on what it was for, I wouldn't carry my 1911 for my EDC and I dont open carry my glock at the family BBQ.
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Old July 18, 2018, 06:16 PM   #4
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For serious work I like the Smith or a Glock. My only experience with an HK left me with the impression they were over rated, but maybe that was an isolated situation.

I have several 1911's they look nice, are accurate and are the ultimate BBQ gun. But of all the handguns I own one the 1911's would be the last I'd reach for if someone were coming through my door.
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Old July 18, 2018, 07:09 PM   #5
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Beretta 92 compact
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Old July 18, 2018, 07:38 PM   #6
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Sounds like a good problem to have

Between the 3 the M&P is out for me as I dislike their trigger.

HK VP9 is nice enough (though I prefer Glocks) and I do love a 1911.

From your description, you cant lose!

So, yeah, great problem to have.
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Old July 18, 2018, 08:42 PM   #7
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If you are looking to buy something, take a look at the Walther PPQ as well Great handling gun with one of the best striker triggers I've felt. While I enjoy shooting 1911s, the weight and ammo capacity would make it a deal breaker.
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Old July 18, 2018, 08:49 PM   #8
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Some nice choices indeed.

My VP9 has some nice features, but when I shoot it, my trigger finger is always getting pinched by the trigger guard.

From what is listed - the 1911.
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Old July 18, 2018, 10:00 PM   #9
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I have an M&P 2.0 and vp9. My preference is the vp9. I took a training class this weekend and used the M&P. The trigger is worse than the vp9, the slide release is very hard to release and sometime during the day the grip tool that holds the back straps in fell out. I am not impressed at this point. I really had high hopes for it.
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Old July 18, 2018, 10:25 PM   #10
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Considering only your list, I would go with the VP9, hands down. Not a big fan of the other choices.
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Old July 19, 2018, 05:59 AM   #11
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There are other guns I like better but based on your list, I'd definitely choose the VP9. It's a good, reliable, comfortable shooter. The M&P is by no means a bad gun. It's just that I like the VP9 a little better in almost every way. I don't know what your intended purpose for the gun is but I don't like manual safeties on carry guns and that limits the 1911.
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Old July 19, 2018, 06:19 AM   #12
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Owning three different pistols, then deciding which one to carry? Why?

My idea, really simple. Same gun, same place, always. It is sitting behind me now. Glock 19, 4th gen. TruGlow night sights, all green. Extended slide lock, Glock factory item. (We all know it is a slide release, yes)

Listened to a lot of 3 rounds, at 3-yard people! Watched the Police shooting on the news, the Officer reloaded his Glock 17, shot through his own windscreen, in pursuit of two killers. The two killers fired 60 rounds at him!

When the Officer bailed, he was still lacing the driver of the now stopped car with rounds. Now I know that was a Police action, not one we would be involved in, but I am still happier with 16 rounds in my 19 than 3!

Not to mention the extra 17 round magazine.
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Old July 19, 2018, 06:49 AM   #13
wild cat mccane
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If you have the VP9 on the list, add the PPQ.

Then pick the PPQ.
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Old July 19, 2018, 07:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wild cat mccane View Post
If you have the VP9 on the list, add the PPQ.

Then pick the PPQ.
This! I have a PPQ and I think the Walther is one of the most unnoticed pistols on the market. Mine is an M1 with the paddle magazine release (like the H&Ks) but it also comes in an M2 variant with a thumb button for us Americans.

My PPQ is very accurate, reliable, lightweight and easy to shoot. Some folks might complain about the muzzle flip due to the "high bore axis". However, I think this is purely in the shooter's head. If you've spent any time behind a .45 or a magnum revolver, the PPQ is quite tame. (Or any service size 9mm for that matter.)

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Old July 19, 2018, 07:33 AM   #15
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Do you like to stock up on magazines?

VP9 magazines are expensive and somewhat uncommon. They are usually around $45, but you might be able to find a sale (or get Xtechs) for $35. Never less.

9mm 1911 magazines can be had for $20.

M&P mags seem to be in between. Looks like they are around $35 a lot of the time, although I just saw a deal on a $120 six pack.
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Old July 19, 2018, 07:46 AM   #16
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The 1911 is an entirely different animal from the other two. If you like that specific style of handgun, and are experienced in training with a manual safety, then stick with what you know. Otherwise, just about any 9mm striker polymer gun is about the same as any other. The two you mentioned are both fine choices. Shoot each at a range if you can, and get the one that "feels right." Then ignore anyone who tells you that you should have bought a Glock/Walther/Ruger/Taurus/Sig/whatever. They all do the same thing.

S&W accessories are more plentiful and less expensive than H&K.

Learning to use the H&K mag release paddles is a bit tricky for the first hour or so, then it's second nature
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Old July 20, 2018, 10:21 PM   #17
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If, God forbid, you have to use it in SD, ask yourself which one you would be most comfortable with leaving in an evidence locker for an extended period. The 1911 & the VP9 aren't cheap. The M&P is reliable and inexpensive. I love carrying my 1911, but I'd hate to lose it for an indeterminate amount of time.
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Old July 21, 2018, 07:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
If you have the VP9 on the list, add the PPQ.

Then pick the PPQ.
This is what I was thinking of when I said that I like some other guns better. In 9mm, I'd prefer the PPQ M1 or modern P99 to the choices here. Obviously, those share a common feature with my top pick from the list. Versus the standard button release, a paddle release is typically lower-profile, usually ambidextrous, and much less likely to be accidentally depressed while in a holster. The latter is due to the mechanism operating in-plane with the pistol and actually riding inside some holsters. I prefer the modern Walther paddle to the HK because it is longer. This gets it deeper into the holster and also makes it easier for those of us with long fingers to operate.

This isn't the only reason that I'd choose the Walthers first. It's just the most notable.
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Old July 21, 2018, 08:27 AM   #19
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"If, God forbid, you have to use it in SD, ask yourself which one you would be most comfortable with leaving in an evidence locker for an extended period. The 1911 & the VP9 aren't cheap. The M&P is reliable and inexpensive. I love carrying my 1911, but I'd hate to lose it for an indeterminate amount of time."

That shouldn't be a thought or consideration for life/death self-defense situations.
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Old July 21, 2018, 12:38 PM   #20
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"That shouldn't be a thought or consideration for life/death self-defense situations."

It's one of my thoughts also. I am concerned that the one I carry is reliable and I trust it, but I would much rather the police throw around my Taurus in their locker than my CZ. I shoot them both enough to know they are going to work.
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Old July 21, 2018, 09:39 PM   #21
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Ok... I need to clarify my original post. First of all, I already own all 3 of these. They were not purchased for CCW, but rather as range toys. I have shot the VP 9 extensively, and the other 2 about 150 rounds each. I tested all 3 at the indoor range this week at 7 yards. I shot 50 rounds in each. I was going from low ready, to front sight on target and fire, then repeat. The same ammo was used in each firearm. Other than POI, they all shoot pretty much the same. They would all work for CCW in the right holster. Strangely enough, they all fit pretty well in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB holster purchased for the M&P 2.0 Compact.

I shot the M&P first and it had a tendency to shoot low. I started out with the other 2 aiming a little high and it was unnecessary. Both of those groups would have been better if I would have just shot for center from the start.

M&P9 2.0 Compact



SR1911 9mm Ltwt CMD



HK VP9

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Old July 22, 2018, 04:41 AM   #22
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rman43.

We used to have the target you illustrated, an LE target. As the Security G Licensed official target for re-qls.

The ten ring is 6" or 7" below the position of the heart. Plus the head is not given a numerical score, scored as a miss. Stupid target.

This same target was used by Police for years. My rant is on the target, not your shooting.
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Old July 22, 2018, 07:44 AM   #23
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Out of what you listed, I'd pick the M&P.

I love 1911s, I often carry one of two .45ACP 1911s I own (all steel, Officer sized RIA, Commander sized 1st gen S&W 1911SC). However, I pick them because I shoot a 1911 better than anything else, and how well I shoot with a gun is my current #1 criteria (with reliability being a given for a carry/home defense gun of course- if it isn't reliable, I don't use it). I also like capacity, and since your other guns have it, in a similar size, and you shoot them just as well, you should probably remove the 1911 from your list. Also, for a 1911, I'm not sure I'd carry a 9mm anyway- they tend to be less reliable in 9mm than .45 (though yours may be just fine, so that is more generalized info, and not advice for your specific situation).

I don't have a VP9 so I can't really comment.

I have a 1st gen M&P40c. I love it for carry (when in a state where I can carry). It is the "just right" gun for me when carrying. It is small enough to disappear completely in a tucked IWB holster (and I barely feel it there), yet comfortable to shoot in extended range sessions, and still has decent capacity (10 flush, 15 with the extended mag, and both conceal well). It has been both accurate and totally reliable. It points naturally and feels good in my hand. If I ever decide to get a slightly larger Glock 19/23 sized polymer gun (I have something in that size range in aluminum), the M&P Compact 2.0 will be high on my list.
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Old July 22, 2018, 09:21 AM   #24
rman43
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You guys have presented some well thought out reasons for your choices. Also you didn't slam any of mine and I appreciate that. It is probably not sensible to have all these, basically for range guns, but I've enjoyed shooting every one of them.

I've gone through a lot of phases with handguns over the years. I was a LEO in the 70's and I thought a revolver was the only suitable handgun. I liked the feel of steel and wood. I shot on the PD's pistol team for several years and for that, I used a Series 70 Colt Govt Model that had been re-worked by a local gunsmith for the bullseye matches and a S&W Model 19 for the combat matches. I got really fond of that 1911. About 1990 I lost interest in handgun shooting and spent most of my time at the range shooting rifles and hunting.

In the early 2000's, I got interested in shooting handguns again in a big way. My first venture got me interested in Ruger P-Series guns and I owned several. I soon found that I didn't handle the transition from double action to single action very well. With a lot of practice, I got much better, but still felt that it wasn't the ideal platform for me. I went back to the good ole wood and steel and resumed my love affair with the 1911 - good trigger, natural pointer and chambered for the .45 auto round.

Kansas voted to allow concealed carry in 2007. I decided I needed to find something that would work well for that. I didn't have much money to spend and tried a series of inexpensive polymer pistols. I tried a Kel-Tek 3AT, PF9, P11, Taurus PT111 and a PT145. I wasn't too happy with any of them. I settled on a Para USA OPS 1911. It was an Officer's sized stainless 1911 in .45 auto.

The Para worked out pretty well, but dang it was heavy. My every day carry became a Smith & Wesson 1911SC Series E. The SC had a bob-tailed butt and an aluminum (scandium) frame. Those two worked pretty well for me. I kept looking at the polymer striker-fired guns. As I've gotten older, I find that a lot of guns are difficult for me to rack the slide. The striker guns in general are easier to operate the slide and the 9mm's are even easier because they have lighter recoil springs. I tried several that I just plain didn't like. I have a lot of respect for Glock handguns, but I don't like the grip angle, and I find that they don't point natually for me. I shot several Springfield XD's - nice guns, but I don't shoot them well for some reason.

So the journey goes on. I find that I like all 3 of the guns that are the subject of this piece. I really can't pick a winner. What I have found though, is I'm not a snob about guns like I once was. We live in a time where there are dozens of handguns that are accurate, reliable and fun to shoot. I would hate to only be able to pick one. For those of us that can't afford the latest, greatest new sensation, have no fear. You don't have to spend a fortune to find a good gun that suits your purpose.
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Old July 22, 2018, 11:38 AM   #25
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Judging by your targets you shoot all three of your pistols really well so isn’t it irrelevant what anybody else thinks about one model relative to the others?
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