New 9mm rule for 1911s in CMP competitions

The new rule from the Civilian Marksmanship Program-


6.2.3 Approved U. S. Service Pistols and Commercial Equivalents


The following U. S. Government Service Pistols or commercial versions of the same type and caliber may be used in CMP-sanctioned Service Pistol Matches, provided they comply with Rules 6.2.1 and 6.2.2. a) U. S. Government or Colt M1911 Service Pistols or commercial versions of the same type (M1911). These pistols may be chambered for any cartridge with a bore diameter not less than 9mm and not greater than .45” and have a barrel length not greater than 5.100”.


I predict the ripples of this rule change will be felt for years to come.


Allowing the 1911 to be chambered in 9mm is a total game changer. The EIC pistol matches are a time-tested and traditional form of pure precision pistol competition. Its origins harken back to promoting excellence in marksmanship within the civilian population as a supplement and feeder to our military forces. Thus the firearms allowed to be used in these competitions were limited to similar firearms that are or were used in our military services. In the early days .38 revolvers, then 1911s chambered in .45 ACP and finally the Beretta in 9mm.


However in recent years due to lagging numbers of competitors, the CMP created a panel to find ways to encourage more participation in EIC matches. (Full Disclosure I was a member on that CMP panel). There were several changes implemented by that panel, and happily, those actions did improve participation. Some of those changes were the implementation of the new EIC .22 matches as well as allowing a very wide range of pistols to compete in EIC matches. The allowance of pistols like the Glock, Springfield XD and others to shoot EIC matches removed what had become the high entry price of having a match grade custom 1911 or M9 pistol built. However, in that panel, the restriction of 1911s only being chambered in .45 and the M9 being chambered only in 9mm was established.


That restriction has now been relaxed with the new 2017 rules allowing the 1911 to be chambered in any caliber not less than 9mm or greater than .45.


Here is why I believe this will be a turning point for EIC competitions, or more accurately it will be a turning point in the equipment used in EIC pistol competitions.


It is well known that most shooters love the 1911 pistol. They love how it fits in the hand, how the 1911 trigger feels etc. The one thing that shooters don’t love is the excessive recoil that is felt from the 230 grain ball bullet leaving the barrel. Until the changes of a few years ago, Ball ammo was still required because it was the standard ammunition issued for military. The CMP panel I was a part of chose to allow the use of any safe jacketed bullet ammo which relaxed the requirement to use only 230 grain ball bullets for the 1911. This change allowed the use of 185 JHP bullets which considerably reduced the felt recoil of the .45 caliber ammo in the 1911 pistol. This made the 1911 much more manageable as well as it improved performance since the jacket hollow point is much more accurate than the 230 grain ball bullet. These changes did much to close the performance gap on the M9 Beretta which had been dominating in EIC pistol matches for years. After these rule changes the 1911 was more competitive as a tool of choice to win at the highest levels against the M9. But the 9mm round is still a much, more accurate round than even the better 185 grain JHP .45 bullet. Enough so, that all the top shooters still preferred the M9 as their tool of choice.

It breaks down to this. A superbly built custom 1911 chambered in .45 can shoot 10 shots at 50 yards into a 1.5-inch group. That is about the size of the X ring. But a well built M9 match pistol can shoot 10 shots into a group under an inch at 50 yards. Essentially the M9 was still nearly twice as accurate as the best-made custom 1911s shooting 185 JHP bullets. When you are fighting for X’s in order to win the National Championship or the Presidents 100 match or trying to get those precious leg points, a 50% increase in accuracy cannot be ignored.


But all of that has changed now.


At Accuracy X, Inc. we have built a lot of 1911s in 9mm for Action Pistol shooters. Action pistol is a precision game that has similar requirements to that of Precision Bullseye. AP pistols need to be super accurate in order to max out the X count in that game. We have routinely built 1911s that can shoot 1 inch, 10 shot groups at 50 yards for our Action Pistol customers. Proving a custom 1911 chambered in 9mm can rival the best accuracy from the finest match grade M9 Beretta pistols.


So now with this new rule change, shooters can gain all the advantages of the 1911, the ergonomics, the wonderful trigger all the while benefitting from the lighter recoiling and super accurate 9mm round and have none of the traditional downsides.


All the upside of the 1911 with none of the downside is why we are seeing a trend at Accuracy X. We have already received several orders for 1911 chambered in 9mm, and it has just been a few weeks since the new CMP rule changes allowing 9mm in the 1911 were announced.

When the competition is so close that X’s determine who is the National Championship or who goes distinguished, any advantage is huge. Being able to shoot the 1911 in a 9mm is like letting a V12 engine into NASCAR. It is just too much of a performance advantage to ignore.


There will still be 1911s on the line chambered in .45, and there will still be M9 Berettas. But I think those who are serious about getting the best tool for the job and those who are looking for whatever advantages they can, will ultimately trade in their .45 Ball gun or M9 Beretta for a 9mm custom 1911.