I've never really considered the idea of a 9mm 1911 before (what, exactly, would the point of that be?), but since the arrival of Browning's magnificent little 1911-22 for small hands, my thinking has evolved a bit. And so when I got wind of Springfield Armory's new full-slide, full-grip EMP 9mm pistol, I thought it might be a good idea to get a peek to see if it might be something interesting.
Got an unexpected chance to meet one in person this weekend, and dang, it is.
The point of the EMP, originally, was to scale the 1911 down slightly, to 9mm dimensions--most importantly, in the grip length and width dimensions. I never paid much attention to it at first, because for me, it's not enough smaller than a slim-lined .45ACP model to make an appreciable difference in size, and all other things being equal I'll always take .45 over 9. And I admit I've never been a fan of super-stubby 1911s anyway, in any caliber. (I've long preferred the "Commander slide, LW Officer's frame" arrangement as the best balance between size, weight, and shootability.)
But looking at it with different eyes now, I see much to like. It absolutely is smaller in the hand, and for smaller hands that is going to make a big difference. It is all 1911 in operation, and with SA's reputation I'd expect it to run as well as anything out there. It's a 10+1 9mm of moderate weight, and may well make a splendid training or working gun for whoever's hand it fits. It's spendy (street price as I saw it was $1050), but then again it already has everything on it you'd want to put on a working gun. 9mm is cheaper to run than .45, and if you can arrange the right loads, it seems to be "enough" for defensive use, even if some of us simply like to use more. (Hell, the real reason I favor larger calibers isn't because I doubt the 9x19 at its best. It's because of the worst-case ammo supply scenario: I know that any old thing I can stuff into a .45 or even .40, that will make the gun work, will do decently well. That's never been true of the 9.)
Anyway, I'm starting to visualize a set of training guns for people that would employ the 1911 platform, but be sized for hands appropriately. At the bottom end of the scale is the Browning 1911-22 or 1911-380, at the full-sized end is the slim-lined and then the standard 1911...and dang if in the middle isn't this slightly reduced frame that just may have a solid niche to occupy.
Now, if I could just figure out how to solve the financial problems and start putting all these dang ideas to work! :-)