Well, it began in 1794 when George Washington designated the original Springfield Armory as our national armory to begin manufacturing muskets for defense of our country. The innovation continues, and last year Springfield Armory introduced their short-barreled .380-caliber 911 pistol with an enhanced G10 pivoting single-action trigger with 1911-styling for concealed carry. I do like the 1911 styling. Just recently and new for 2019, they have introduced the 911 sub-compact with 1911 styling in 9mm caliber. With the plethora of sub-compact 3-inch barreled 9mms in the market now, I was anxious for Springfield to send me this new sub-compact pistol for Testing & Evaluation. I wanted to see how this pistol compares to their new Hellcat 3-inch pistol and some other 3-inch pistols made by other manufacturers. I wanted to decide for myself the key features, benefits, how this 911 performed, and how it compared to other concealed carry small 3″ pistols.
My experiences generally tell me that most 3-Inch, short-barreled, very lightweight, pocket-type pistols are challenging to control and grip, not pleasant to shoot, not that comfortable, and difficult to shoot accurately, compared to full-size and some compact guns. So, I requested the 911 model with the Hogue rubber grips to help control felt recoil and muzzle flip. So, is shooting this sub-compact 3-inch barrel gun an exception to the usual snappy recoil of other similar guns? What about its accuracy? While most small, sub-compact pocket guns are very concealable, they are designed for up-close self-defense, point-shooting distances, unlike full-size guns.
In this review, I want to give you my evaluations, opinions, and range results for this new sub-compact 911 in 9mm. And compare its specifications to the new Springfield Hellcat sub-compact and a few selected other similar 3-inch pistols I shot. I want to help you decide if the 911 and, perhaps, another are candidates for your Every Day Carry, pocket, and/or backup gun. Also, you can compare it to my 21 Concealed Carry guns that I rank in my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection.”
Initially, I want to give you the 911 9mm’s specifications and features. Next, I want to show you a quality, custom holster you might consider for the 911. Then, I give you my shortlist of my ten criteria for selecting ANY handgun. So, this is my brief look and review on the Springfield Armory 911 9mm with just a few of my considerations and opinions to help you. Next, I present a chart Comparing Select Sub-Compact 9mm Pistols to the new 911 in 9mm. Then, I include a link to my website so you can download and print there for free my Concealed Carry Drill target. Last, I rate the pistol on each of my ten criteria, give you my recommendation or not, and conclude with my opinions and ideas. I hope this saves you some time and helps you.
Springfield 911 9mm 3-Inch Barrel Sub-Compact Specifications
|Ninja Column 1||Ninja Column 2|
|Model Number||Model #PG9119H Nitride with Hogue Rubber Grips, Single Action|
|Barrel Length - Type||3.00"; 416 Stainless Steel; 1:16 Twist; Precision Machine-Broached|
|Sights||Ameriglo Pro-Glo Green Tritium Front inside Yellow Luminescent Circle; Tactical Rack U-Notch Rear with Green Tritium inside of White Luminescent Circles; Rear Sight Ledge to help slide racking from a flat surface|
|Frame - Material||Black Anodized Hard-Coat Aluminum Frame; 7075 T6|
|Slide - Finish||Black Nitride Finish; 416 Stainless Steel; Chevron-Type Slide Serrations|
|Trigger - Type||Single Action; Light; Durable; Hammer-Fired; Hogue G10 Trigger Shoe|
|Trigger Press||Measured over 10 trials with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull gauge: 7.01#; Estimated 6.0 - 7# Press|
|Magazines - Capacity||2 Steel Mags: 1 Flush 6 Rounds & 1 Extended 7 Rounds; Single Stack|
|Weight (Unloaded)||17.0 oz, Empty Mag|
|Safeties||Manual Thumb Safety (Ambidextrous); Oversized; No Grip Safety|
|Grips||Hogue Wrap-Around Rubber Grips; Black|
|Other||Limited Lifetime Warranty- from Date of Original Owner New Purchase|
|MSRP||$639 As Reviewed|
Springfield-Armory 911 3-Inch Barrel Sub-Compact 9mm Features
- Full-Length Stainless Steel Guide Rod and Flat-Wire Spring to Soften Recoil
- Visible & Tactile Loaded Chamber Indicator on top of slide to verify Loaded Status
- Octo-Grip Checkering on Front Strap and on Mainspring Housing
- Oversized Ambidextrous Manual Safety
- Aggressive Rear Chevron-Style Slide Serrations to Enhance Grip
- Available in 5 Models, including Viridian Green Laser Grips Models
- Thin Profile with Smooth Edges to help Concealed Carry
- External Extractor
- Skeletonized Hammer
- Enlarged Trigger Guard for Gloved Use
- No Accessory Rail
- Pocket Holster and Zippered Carrying Case Included
- Springfield Pocket Holster
Kramer Handgun Leather OWB Belt Scabbard Holster
Kramer Handgun Leather makes a beautiful, high-quality OWB Belt Scabbard Horsehide-Leather custom holster for this Springfield Armory 911 9mm sub-compact pistol. The Scabbard’s classic “pancake” design has great workmanship, is very comfortable, extremely durable, has fine retention, covers the trigger, and conceals well. The Kramer Leather OWB holster has a high-riding FBI forward cant or tilt for easy draw. It is designed to wear on the strong side hip. When carrying it, I found that the butt of the gun tucks snugly into the body to help with concealment. I really like the quality look, feel, and function of this holster. And, it works well for concealment, for the range, competition, and for home use. The Springfield 911 9mm is shown below in the high-quality Kramer Leather OWB Pancake Belt Scabbard Holster in black.
Kramer Holsters wants to offer my readers a 20% Discount off all purchases through December 10, 2019, for their high-quality holsters. When ordering, mention Col Ben and/or use the Discount Code “ColBen-USACarry20.”
My Criteria and Considerations
Here are just ten of my criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun, so I will use them for the Springfield 911 9mm. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some. For example:
- smooth rounded corners
- a certain style
- mag release location
- number of mags included
- type of sights/modifications
- bore axis
- grip angle
- non-porting or porting
- included extras like a holster and pouch
- customer service
So, I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that all gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want all of my criteria to be met. I assigned a total possible point score of ten points for each of my ten criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria, preferences, or subtract any of mine.
Recognize that there are several features, characteristics, pros and cons, and personal criteria to include and consider. You make your own tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, defined needs, and use.
Comparison of Selected Sub-Compact 3-Inch Barrel 9mm Pistols
My chart below compares the 911 9mm sub-compact to just some of the popular short, 3-inch barrel sub-compact and micro-compact pistols available today. My experiences tell me these below are the current popular 3-inch barrel ones, but there are many fine others, like the Ruger LC9S/EC9S, Kimber Aegis Ultra, and Micro 9, Walther PPS M2, and Taurus G2/G2C. And there are many with slightly longer but below 4-inch barrels with 3.3, 3.5, 3.6, and 3.7-inch barrels, like the Glock 43 SC and H&K VP9SK with their 3.39″ barrels, the FNS 9C and the Smith-Wesson M&P M2.0 with their 3.6″ barrels, and the Sig Sauer 365XL and its 3.7-inch barrel. But, again, this chart just shows those sub-compacts I subjectively chose to compare with a 3 or 3.1-inch barrel.
You can see my top 62 9mm pistol choices by barrel lengths for year-ending 2018 here.
|Springfield 911||Springfield Hellcat||Sig Sauer 938||Sig Sauer 365||Smith-Wesson Shield M2.0|
|Weight w/ Unload. Mag||17.0 oz||18.3 oz||16.0 oz||17.8 oz||18.3 oz|
|Capacity w/ Flush Mag||6||11||7||10||7|
|Trigger Press (est.)||7.10 lbs||6.70 lbs||7.10 lbs||6.25 lbs||6.50 lbs|
|Sights||Night Sights||Night Sights||Night Sights||Night Sights||Night Sights|
Range Test Drill
I used my standard “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” to test and evaluate the 911 9mm after I initially thoroughly cleaned it. I also used my drill for testing the Hellcat and the others. You can use my Concealed Carry Drill to test and evaluate your handguns. I like the realistic 5-yard, and 7-yard distances best to match common distances for typical personal defense.
Download, Print, and Share My Concealed Carry Drill and Target
You can have my Concealed Carry Drill for Free for your practice. Permission to Download, Print, and share “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” is granted when my website address and copyright are included and kept on it.
You can Download and Print “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” and targets by clicking on the link at my website’s Articles Page at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com
Also, you can click here for a Free Download.
Range Results for Springfield 911 with “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill”
I used my above standard Concealed Carry Drill and easily and quickly landed all 15 rounds (with a mag change) in the five various-sized circles at 5 yards, 7 yards, 10 yards, and then 15 yards. I bypassed the 3-yard trial for more of a challenge and shot 250 total rounds.
First, I fired rapid fire with the Sig Elite Performance 115 grain FMJ ammo and all hit in their five circle targets and within the 20 seconds time limit with a mag change at 5 yards, 7 yards, 10 yards, and 15 yards. Then I shot the Sig 365 Elite ammo 115 grain FMJ with the same process and results. Then, I fired the Sig V-Crown 365 ammo in 115 grain JHP and repeated my 15 hits within the 20 seconds at each distance. While all Sig rounds performed well, the 365 ammo worked best in these short-barreled pistols. I met my goal with the Sig Sauer ammo at 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards. As you can see from the images below at 7 yards, on my first trial with the 911, I missed a hit in the bottom right 3″ circle. It landed on the rim of the 4.5″ circle. My unacceptable excuses: Ancient Eyes and rushed shot. But I had no stoppages or malfunctions with any of these Sig rounds for the 911 9mm. They all fed, extracted, and ejected well. See below Drill hits photos at 7 yards for both the 911 and the Hellcat.
You can use my Drill at various appropriate distances for yourself, e.g., 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 yards to challenge yourself and assess skill-level improvements as you progress. At first, do not time yourself but safely practice until you feel comfortable and safe with the Drill. I hope my Drill helps you.
Opinions and Evaluations for Each Criterion
Here are my opinions and evaluations for each of my ten criteria for the Springfield 911 9mm pistol.
1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10
The 911 9mm’s Accuracy was excellent and effortless for me at close and medium distances of 5, 7, and 10 yards, typical self-defense distances. Despite my less than average eyesight, colorblindness, and average marksmanship, this senior guy was able to shoot decent groups with the gun right out of the box. My hits at 15 and 20 yards with this small sub-compact 3″ barrel gun were on target and Accurate, but I had a little larger groups. My groups of 15 shots each at the various distances were about 2.5 to 2.75 inches or so. These drills included drawing from my Kramer Leather holster, a mag change, and my concentrating with a very firm grip.
I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot various Sig Sauer 365 ammo (designed especially for short-barreled pistols) in 115 grain FMJ and in 115 grain JHP ammo. I had no problems with Sig V-Crown JHP loading or ejecting. No malfunctions or stoppages whatsoever. The muzzle velocity was 1050 ft/sec and the muzzle energy was 282 ft-lbs, for BOTH the FMJ and JHP rounds. I understand their slogan, “Train like you Carry.” And I had no feeding, ejection, or extraction problems at all. The gun functioned flawlessly for me. The press was short, somewhat soft, and crisp, but the felt recoil was very snappy, although controllable, for this ole codger. This is what you would expect from a very short-barreled pistol, and I had to grip the gun very tightly and keep my wrist locked. I was impressed with the 911’s Reliability. Accuracy and Reliability were both excellent with the ammo used and with a very firm grip. The accuracy and reliability (and almost all of the specifications) for this 911 are indistinguishable from those of the Sig Sauer P938 and P938 Legion I own.
2. Trigger Press – Score: 8
Out-of-the-box, the trigger press, averaged 7.10 pounds without modification for this 1911-style, 911 sub-compact 9mm, with ten readings with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. This was higher than I expected and did not meet my goal criterion and my desired maximum press range of close to five pounds for this single-action 1911-style pistol. But it is not “broken in” yet. I would expect a 1911-style gun to have a softer press. After more rounds downrange, it should smooth out more, and the press should hopefully lighten. Incidentally, the trigger press for Springfield’s other pistol, the Hellcat, was lighter at 6.70 pounds.
3. Trigger – Score: 10
The 911 trigger had a short travel distance, a very identifiable reset, and was smooth, so I could get off quick follow-up shots easily and keep on target easier. My shots were consistent each time, and I liked the short reset. The trigger’s reset was clearly audible, tactile, and identifiable. It has a quality and durable G10 Hogue trigger shoe. I like a single-action trigger, and this gun shoots well.
4. Barrel Length: Score: 9
The 911’s 3.00-inch stainless steel barrel was easily concealable and nice for pocket carry with this pistol. It is a small and lightweight gun with its aluminum frame, so the recoil was somewhat stout and snappy, but no control problem at all with a very firm grip and concentration. This short-barreled gun was manageable. To help with control, I could almost get all my three strong-hand fingers on the grip with the flush mag. I did have pinky dangle, but no problem at all with the extended mag. And the short sight radius was not a distraction. The barrel and slide are made from stainless steel, which helps with rust resistance.
5. Sights – Score: 10
The Ameriglo Pro-Glo Green Tritium/Yellow Luminescent Ring Front and Green Tritium with Two White Rings U-Notch Rear Steel Sights were standard, excellent, and helped my older eyes with front sight acquisition. I like these green night sights because I am color blind and can see green very well, versus the red color. These Tritium sights really helped and stood out for me. The rear black Tactical-Rack Serrated white-dot sights worked fine, and the chevron-type slide serrations were nice. The rear sight has a flat shelf with edges to help with one-handed racking and malfunctions. Great included night sights. There are also two Viridian laser sight options.
6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 9
The weight of the gun is only 17 ounces unloaded with mag inserted. This is certainly very lightweight for concealed carry with its aluminum frame. But, it is part of the explanation for the snappy felt recoil. However, this 911 is manageable for concealed carry and nice for a pocket pistol and/or backup gun (BUG.). Each individual makes their own tradeoffs. Some like a slightly heavier gun for better recoil control, comfort, and/or accuracy, but this is personal preference. The trigger was aluminum, and the frame, barrel, and slide were stainless steel. This is a solidly-made sub-compact.
7. Caliber – Score: 10
The 9mm Caliber is fine for me for a backup gun (BUG) and a pocket gun that is small and easy to conceal. This gun works for that, and my wife liked this small and lightweight gun for another purse carry. I prefer the 9mm caliber, used with appropriate ammo with the right ballistics for primary concealed carry. This 911 is a nice lightweight and quality carry gun that I would pocket carry. The 9mm felt recoil is tolerable and controllable.
TIP: Choose the highest caliber handgun that you can COMFORTABLY and RELIABLY shoot AND make fast, ACCURATE followup shots with, for your purpose. This applies to concealed carry, self-defense, home defense, and even competition. You want a gun that you like, can control, and WILL carry and not leave at home if carrying concealed. A very personal and individualistic choice!
8. Capacity – Score: 7
Capacity is a concern of mine for any handgun, especially one for concealed carry purposes. While there were two magazines included, 6 and 7 rounders, a third was not included for the 911. There was a nice 6-round flush mag for carry, but all my fingers could not grasp it 100% solidly. It did work, however, and there was also a nice 7-rounder extended mag (my preference), which allowed my fingers to solidly grip the gun without pinky finger dangle. Only six rounds on the flush-fit mag is not ideal for me for concealed carry, but I can accept it with carrying an extra mag. With the many 3-inch sub-compact guns in the market now, like Springfield’s new Hellcat and Sig’s 365, increased capacity of 11 and 10 are becoming the much-desired norm. Recognize the tradeoffs and sacrifices for your concealed carry gun, but again this will probably be your BUG or pocket pistol, and six rounds might work for you.
9. Ergonomics – Score: 9
Overall, the ergonomics of the 911 subcompact were very good. And it looks great! I like the way it feels in my hands, and the high-quality Hogue rubber grips helped secure my grip. My Sig 938 has the exact same Hogue rubber grips, and they certainly help with a solid purchase. My 911 grip was very comfortable. The 911’s lightweight, overall small size and rounded corners really help its concealability. I could easily reach and control the ambidextrous safeties. And its low bore axis also helped my control. And I did not have any malfunctions at all. This is a reliable gun with fine ergonomics. The slide lock lever and mag release button were all easy to locate and operate quickly. I liked the Loaded Chamber Indicator. ALL mags did drop freely and quickly. The ergonomic features helped with my felt recoil and muzzle flip. The 1-inch width of the 911 was perfect for my medium-sized hands and for concealability. The dimensions of the five comparison sub-compacts were almost identical, as you can see from my above comparison chart.
10. Miscellaneous – Score: 9
As always before shooting any new gun, I disassembled, lubed, cleaned, and re-assembled the 911 before I shot it. Remember, to first remove the mag and do your safety check. The 911 was very easy to disassemble, but a pain to reassemble. For reassembly, you must depress the ejector downward with just the right amount of force to allow the slide to move into its precise position. Be sure and depress the ejector ONLY far enough to provide clearance for the slide during assembly. It took me many tries for this and to get the slide stop in alignment and fully seated. I must admit that this new gun is very tightly fitted, and the gun had not been fired before for break-in. And as my wife says, “I am mechanically disadvantaged.”
The price of the gun is reasonable for the quality and features you get, but there are many comparable pistols, so do your due diligence evaluations. It does come with a very nice soft case with a pocket holster velcroed inside, owner’s manual, cable lock, and two mags. It does not include other things like some have, e.g., a mag pouch or the third mag. There are several very nice features for this quality subcompact, single-action gun. There is not a magazine disconnect safety, so it will fire with the mag out. There is a comprehensive Limited Lifetime Warranty for the original owner.
The case was cardboard, but I realize that this allows for a lower price, and there are other nice included items, like the excellent cloth zippered case and pocket holster. Included in the box, in addition to the cloth case and holster, were two mags, a lock, bore flag, and Instruction Manual.
Total Points = 91 out of 100 Possible for Springfield 911 9mm.
I recommend this quality Springfield Armory 911 sub-compact in 9mm as a concealed carry, pocket, and backup gun. I would use it as a pocket gun backup. It is very similar to a full-size 1911 single-action pistol and some of its features. But the trigger press does not come close to most 1911s, since it is a harder press than I prefer. All of the five pistols shown in the chart above are excellent sub-compact pistols for carry and personal protection. The new Springfield Hellcat in 9mm has the important feature of having a high capacity of 11 rounds in the mag and a lighter trigger press. I also recommend it. Both the 911 and Hellcat are new sub-compacts from Springfield and have very similar dimensions and specifications. Neither gun has a grip safety, and only the Hellcat has a Picatinny Rail and comes red dot optical-sights ready. Both can be used for concealed carry, as a pocket gun or backup gun, and for fun plinking at the range.
This is not intended to be an in-depth and thorough review of both the 911 and Hellcat pistols. This is a review of only the 911 9mm pistol. But some general comparative data and opinions of both new pistols this year from Springfield are given. With the Springfield 911 9mm, the attention to details and its precise, finely-built craftsmanship are very evident and are the marks of an excellent 1911-type gun. Also, I was very impressed with its accuracy, reliability, and its very controllable recoil for a sub-compact 9mm. But, the recoil was snappy as expected for a short-barrel, sub-compact pistol. After a total of 500 rounds down range demonstrating positive results for my criteria and preferred characteristics, I would consider the new 911, the new Hellcat pistol… and all of the fine five sub-compact pistols generally compared in this review.
The major differences between the 911 and the Hellcat are that the 911 is a 1911-style single-action pistol with the feel and several features of a 1911. The 911 has a full-length guide rod with a flat wire spring, while the double-action Hellcat has a dual captive recoil spring. The enhanced pivoting black Hogue trigger of the 911 is designed to lessen recoil. The striker-fired, double-action-only Hellcat is designed to directly compete with the striker-fired, double-action-only Sig Sauer 365, has a high-round capacity, and is offered in an optics ready model, OSP. The Hellcat might have the edge over the 911 for carry primarily because of its increased capacity, lighter trigger press to help with accuracy, slightly heavier weight to help with felt recoil, and moderate price.
Comparison of 365 to 365XL:
One of the five pistols shown in the chart above is the Sig Sauer 365 sub-compact, an excellent pistol I own, but I really like the new 365XL model with its X-Series features. I also own it. As you can read from my 365XL review HERE, there are several fine features of the XL I prefer for my concealed carry lineup. The Sig Sauer 365XL has a slightly longer barrel (3.7″) and slide with the added sight radius to help accuracy and performance. The XL also has other excellent advantages, like its flat trigger, extended and flared magwell, capacity of 12, extended beavertail, slim width, excellent tritium day/night sights, and it is red dot optics ready.
As always, these are just my opinions, and you should try the 911, the Hellcat, and the other pistols mentioned here for yourself. Be sure to use the Holster Discount Code mentioned above for fine Kramer Handgun Leather holsters. I hope this review of the Springfield 911 sub-compact 9 mm (and data about other comparable pistols) has helped you gain some information for your decision. Consider that this is just my point of view with limited live-range fire and using about 250 rounds of high-quality premium FMJ and JHP Sig Sauer ammo. As always, I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it and have at least 500 rounds break-in range time through it for yourself. Try Before You Buy Any Pistol. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what’s important to you ahead of your range live-fire time. Then critically evaluate the gun yourself per your criteria and purpose, with various ammo types and brands, and over an extended break-in period.
Geneseo, IL 61254
Kramer Handgun Leather Holsters
Tacoma, WA 98411
Sig Sauer for Elite V-Crown 9mm JHP-FMJ Ammo
Newington, NH 03801
Photos by Author.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.