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January 27th, 2017

Innovative Pistol — The Hudson H9

Hudson H9 pistol 9mm 9x19mm low bore axis

A striker-fired 9mm 1911, with a lower bore axis. That’s how we’d describe the brand-new Hudson H9 pistol, which debuted at SHOT Show 2017. The feel in the hand will be familiar to model 1911 owners — this single-stack pistol shares the ergonomics of the classic J.M. Browning 1911. It also has a trigger feel similar to a 1911 (but there is more take-up than on a 1911).

The big news is up front — that bulky section in the front of the frame below the muzzle allows the guide rod and recoil spring to be carried very low. That permits the slide to be placed lower relative to the web of the hand. This, combined with the striker firing mechanism, all translates to a lower bore axis and lower Center of Gravity. In practice this does reduce muzzle flip and perceived recoil.

Hudson H9 pistol 9mm 9x19mm low bore axis

We shot the Hudson H9 at Media Day at the Range, and it did seem to be have less muzzle flip than a typical 9x19mm pistol of similar weight. However, we would stop short of calling this revolutionary. To be honest, we think some other gun journalists have gone a bit overboard. The Hudson H9 is an innovative pistol to be sure, but honestly it wasn’t shockingly good. This Editor has shot probably 40 different 9mm pistols, including custom 9x19mm 1911s. The Hudson H9 is good, but, to be honest, my H&K P7m8 is better (in terms of muzzle flip). And HK’s P7 series pistols were designed 40 years ago!

From Russia with Low Bore Axis
If you want to get excited about a low bore axis, check out this Kalashnikov PL-14, introduced in 2015. Note the very low-profile slide, with a grip design that allows the web of the hand to be carried very high. We think this is actually a more advanced design than the Hudson H9. Still, for 1911 fans yearning for a striker-fired option, the Hudson will feel familiar, and it does seem to be well-made and sturdy.

Pistolet Kalashnikov PL-14

Pistolet Kalashnikov PL-14

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June 19th, 2015

New 9mm Sport and Combat Pistol from Kalashnikov

PL-14 Lebedev Irina Madeeva Pistol Kalashnikov 9mm 9x19

Meet the new PL-14 9x19mm pistol, also called the “Pistolet Lebedev” (Пистолет Лебедева), after its designer. This new pistol comes from Russian arms-maker Kalashnikov Concern. Notably, it is designed for both sport and war. Two versions will be produced — one for military use, and another for competition. The match version will have a lighter pull-weight trigger. “The versatility of our new pistol allows [use] not only as a military weapon for the military forces and police, but also as a pistol for different shooting competitions,” said Kalashnikov CEO Alexey Krivoruchko.

This new pistol was developed with input from both IPSC shooters and Russian Special Forces (Spetsnaz) soldiers. A lot of smart thinking went into this ergonomic design. We were pleased to see the ultra-low bore axis and a grip that does NOT copy the worst features of the Glock design. Fully loaded, the PL-14 weighs 1 kg (2.2 lbs). The PL-14 prototype frame is aluminum. We’re informed that the production military version will have a polymer frame.

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