Design Strengths

GIs were not supposed to carry their M1911A1 pistols in Condition 1 with a round in the chamber, the hammer back, and the safety on. However, my wife’s grandfather toted one with a hot chamber from North Africa all the way up Italy in WWII. Given how tough that guy was I always suspected anyone who might have found this objectionable was likely too intimidated to say anything. Recoil was indeed noteworthy, and the 1911 was, relatively speaking, a boat anchor to tote.

The double-action/single-action trigger on the M9 made it tough to shoot to the same point of aim consistently. The sights sported a simple painted dot, while the ample grip and modest cartridge kept things pleasant. For its era the M9 was a fine handgun.

The new M17 is easier to run and safer than both of its predecessors. The smooth consistent trigger is 80 percent of that. Empty magazines just blast out of the magwell when you press the button. The grip is hands-down the best of the three. The overhung architecture of the slide keeps the CG well forward for minimal muzzle flip and quick follow up shots. All three guns shot plenty straight from a rest, but I shot faster with the M17 under all conditions tested.