Smith & Wesson is on a roll with turning out more outstanding concealed carry handguns. One of these new concealed carry handguns is the Performance Center SW1911 Pro Series 9mm.
S&W’s 911 Pro Series 9 Specs
The 1911 Pro Series 9 was built from the ground up with all-day carry comfort in mind. It starts with a scandium alloy frame. Found in uranium deposits, scandium is a rare earth element that gives aluminum strength similar to steel but with far less weight. Scandium has allowed Smith & Wesson to produce ultra-lightweight five-shot .357 Magnum revolvers. In the 1911 Pro Series 9, a Scandium alloy frame is a perfect choice. It keeps the weight down to a very easily carried 26.2 ounces.
Barrel length is 3 inches, and overall length is only 6.9 inches. The barrel and slide are both made from Armornite-coated stainless steel, which makes these parts as rust-resistant as you could possibly want. The two flush-fitting, stainless-steel magazines hold eight rounds, which is impressive considering the grip frame is one half inch shorter than a full-sized 1911 frame. The lack of bumper pads on the magazines keeps the 1911 Pro Series 9 in line with the mission of being a deep concealment handgun.
The round-butt frame is vertically grooved on the front strap. Although it is a small touch, the rounded rear frame enhances shooting comfort. The flat mainspring housing is finely checkered. The stippled black synthetic grip panels provide a comfortable, secure grip. The beavertail grip features a memory bump, and the hammer spur is a skeletonized oval style. The magazine release is checkered, and the slide release is standard size. The curved trigger has three holes and an adjustable over-travel stop screw. The trigger came perfectly adjusted from the factory. The only addition I would make would be an extended slide release.
The slide features angled grasping grooves at the rear. There is a chamber port to let you see that a round is in the chamber. Smith & Wesson’s oversized external extractor is used along with a full-length guide rod for ultimate functional reliability. There is no barrel bushing. The gun also has ambidextrous manual safeties, which are standard. While not a must for me, having the additional safety lever would come in handy if I had to fire the gun from a left-handed draw. The white three-dot sights are windage-adjustable and ramped for a snag-free draw.
Testing the Model 686 .357 at the Gun Range
I went to the gun range with a couple of boxes of SIG Sauer’s 147-grain Elite V-Crown JHP self-defense rounds. I fired them through the 1911 Pro Series 9 without cleaning or initial lubrication. I feel that testing concealed carry guns this way in particular right out of the box is important. Not only do concealed carry guns get carried a lot and shot only a little, they also get also carried a lot and cleaned very little.
The 1911 Pro Series 9 ran like a champ. Factory ballistics for the SIG’s V-Crown load report a muzzle velocity of 985 feet per second with 317 foot-pounds of energy. Fired over the chronograph, the 3-inch barrel still averaged 948 feet per second and produced 293 foot-pounds at the muzzle, which is still quite respectable.
This is one of the relatively few concealed carry handguns out there that delivers plenty of power on the receiving end but is still a joy to shoot. The trigger was as crisp as any other single-action 1911 trigger I’ve used, and cycling was flawless. The low recoil helped keep the gun on target for fast follow-up shots. Group size averaged 3 inches from 30 feet while firing two-handed. All this means that the 1911 Pro Series 9 is a fun-to-shoot defensive handgun that makes for an enjoyable day at the range. Carrying a pistol that you both enjoy and look forward to shooting will help you become deadly accurate with it and thoroughly familiar with its operation. Enjoying the pistol that you shoot is a particularly important factor if the 1911 Pro Series 9 should become your first 1911-type pistol.
Conclusions on the Smith & Wesson 1911 Pro Series 9
The 1911 Pro Series 9 is one extremely well-thought-out handgun. Although it descends from what is likely the world’s all-time greatest handgun design, the right improvements needed to be made to the original 1911 .45 ACP military pistol to produce an ideal pistol for concealed carry permit holders, off-duty police officers and administrative law enforcement personnel. Of course, the 1911 Pro Series 9 is also an outstanding home-defense pistol or back-country trail gun.
To say I was impressed with this new Smith & Wesson concealment pistol would be an understatement. Smith & Wesson got everything right on this gun as far as I can see. MSRP is $1330. The Scandium alloy frame costs more, but its durability and light weight are worth it. The 1911 Pro Series 9 is an ideal platform for making the most of this rare element.
More info at: www.smith-wesson.com