The Hudson H9 is a modern handgun that the company has called an ideal marriage between the 1911 pistol and striker-fired handguns. There is some relevance to this claim, although the pistol feels more like the Browning High Power 9mm than a 1911 to this shooter—and that is a compliment. It may feel even better than the 1911 or High Power, and that is pretty interesting.
As for the striker-fired action, Browning himself developed a striker fired handgun soon after the Colt 1903. He changed the hammer-fired action to a striker-fired pistol in his 1910 Browning. The Hudson has features that mimics both striker-fired handguns and the 1911. The pistol is also quite original in many of its features.
The Hudson is something different, that is certain. It is a locked breech 9mm handgun that features a steel frame and slide. The H9 is striker fired and features a smooth single action trigger. The pistol is service sized and weighs 34 ounces.
The grip is 1911-like with excellent handfit. It is more similar to the Browning High Power than the 1911 in my opinion, and that is all good. There is no grip safety. The grip tang is well designed and offers a good fit. The pistol also features a Browning-type magazine release and ambidextrous slide lock. The slide lock is positive in operation and easy enough to operate. Unlike the Browning High Power, the Hudson smartly ejects empty magazines. The slide lock is easier to use well quickly than either the High Power or the 1911.
The pistol features angled camming surfaces to lock and unlock rather than the 1911 swinging link. The camming links position and other concerns led Hudson to move the guide rod and recoil spring to a position in an elongated dust cover. The short recoil, Browning-derived system is mated with a modern SIG-type lock up with the barrel hood locking into the ejection port.
The flat wire recoil spring controls recoil well, and the position of the recoil spring helps keep recoil straight to the rear and light for the caliber. The design gives the H9 a bulbous nose, but the engineering also helps reduce muzzle rise and torque. And when you consider how low the slide really is in relation to the frame, the nose isnt that big. The reduced muzzle flip results in a pistol that shoots flat over longer distances. The pistol is manufactured from high quality 4140 steel.
The H9 is easily field stripped. Double check the pistol to be certain it is unloaded, with the slide locked to the rear and the magazine removed. Check the chamber for a loaded round. The take down lever is then pressed from right to left and rotated, and the slide is pressed forward. The trigger must be pressed to release the slide from the frame.
The barrel easily comes out the bottom of the slide, while there is no need to remove the recoil spring. The front strap is nicely checkered. It isn’t so sharp that it will abrade the palms but it offers excellent adhesion. The pistol features well-designed, changeable, G10 grip panels. The backstrap features a well-designed housing that offers good abrasion.
The single action trigger is one of the outstanding features of the pistol. The trigger breaks at a very clean 5.0 pounds. This is a crisp trigger that breaks cleanly with little take up. The safety lever that prevents lateral discharge is as wide as the trigger itself and pivots at the bottom of its travel. The trigger safety is a shoe rather than a lever and as wide as the trigger.
The appearance of the H9 is pleasing. The pistol is well made of good material. Final fit and finish were excellent. The design is smooth and well done. The pistol features both forward and rear cocking serrations. They are nicely machined. There are no sharp edges. The sights are among the best designs for personal defense.
The rear sight is a bold design with rear serrations. The front sight is a Trijicon HD night sight. This single dot night sight offers excellent visibility in all light conditions. With practice, it is possible to properly use this sight combination with both eyes open.
The magazines are tapered at the top in common with most double-column magazine pistol magazines. This allows rapid magazine changes. During the first few outings the magazines were very difficult to load to full capacity but eased up some with use. I used the Blackhawk! magazine loader and this was a great aid. A strong magazine spring ensures feed reliability. After about 100 cartridges the magazines were much easier to load.
Firing, the pistol was undertaken with a mix of handloads using the Hornady 115-grain XTP at 1,100 fps, factory Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense, American Gunner 124-grain XTP +P, and Hornady 147-grain XTP. This gave a good cross section of bullet weights and velocity. I also used the Federal Cartridge Company American Eagle practice load, Federal 124-grain HST, Federal 147-grain HST and new Federal Hydra-Shok 135-grain Deep Penetrating load.
I fired at least a magazine of each, but used the handloads and American Eagle load most extensively. I fired 250 rounds over the course of an hour during the initial trail. The H9 is supplied with three magazines, a big help in testing a pistol. Firing offhand the pistol is a joy to fire. Sure, a 35 ounce 9mm should not kick much, but this pistol is very pleasant to fire.
Combat accuracy is good to excellent. With first class ergonomics, a clean trigger, and excellent sights, the Hudson H9 is simply a great all-around combat pistol. Firing from the retention position, one-hand point, and a strong two-hand hold, the pistol gave good results.
One concern was that the pistol fired low with most loads tested. This was on the order of two inches at 20 yards. Then, I realized that I was using a conventional sight picture. By adjusting my sight picture and using the bright yellow ringed orange insert front sight I was able to get the bullets walking into the X-ring on demand. I also used a very stiff hold and placed my support hand forefinger in the indent under the triggerguard.
I attached the TruGlo combat light during the course of this evaluation. This light offers either a bright light, laser, or both in tandem, and is one of the best buys in combat lights. I settled down and fired a few groups at 25 yards with the Hudson. Accuracy with the quality loads tested—including the Hornady XTP and Federal HST loads—hovered around a two-inch group for five shots at 25 yards, but I fired a few larger groups. However, I also fired two groups that placed three bullets into .9 inch with the other two loads bringing the group to two inches. This dog will run.
Carrying the Hudson
There have been times when new handguns have been introduced and it was months before proper holsters were available. Fortunately, PHLSTER holster is up and running with a competent, even excellent rig, and it was delivered within a week of the order. The holsters are crafted in Philadelphia by Jon Hauptman.
The Classic IWB arrived with a special attachment for Appendix carry. There is a spare ‘foot’ supplied as well to allow adjusting the carry. I removed the anti rollout device and used my holster as a standard behind the hip IWB. However, I did explore the Appendix option and found the holster secure The anti rollout device prevented the handle forward tilt that adversely affects many appendix carry holsters. While, at present, the PHLster is the only holster I can recommend and positively say is available, it is as good as it gets.
The Hudson has proven completely reliable in firing a wide range of loads in standard pressure and +P, ranging from 65 to 147 grains. The pistol has proven reliable. With the second magazine of ammunition, I had a failure to reset the striker, but this was with a 147-grain load and perhaps my thumb rode the slide as well. Whether packing grease or operator error was the culprit, the failure to set the striker did not reoccur.
Accuracy was high. The pistol is well made of the best material, it is a sterling example of the gunmakers art. Don’t ask if I would buy the pistol, I bought it before I wrote the review and find it very interesting. It achieves its design goals of high accuracy, low recoil, and excellent handling. It isn’t a handgun for the casual shooter—although it will serve them well—a less expensive handgun might serve as well. For the shooter who is willing to practice and train diligently, the Hudson H9 will do things that could not be done with the less expensive handgun.
As for the price, considering the pistol is supplied with high grade night sights and custom features, I find the pistol is more than reasonably priced compared to high grade 1911 handguns. The pistol seems to be selling for $1,090 or so at most outlets.
Does the thought of a striker-fired 1911 pistol such as the Hudson top your list? Share your answer in the comment section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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