CONTROLLABLE FOR COMBAT
THE HUDSON H9’S INNOVATIVE DESIGN MAKES FOR AN EASY-FIRING 9MM HANDGUN
The Hudson H9’s innovative design makes for an easy-firing 9mm handgun.
By Bob Campbell
The Hudson H9 9mm is a distinctive handgun in appearance, yet the mechanism is traditional. While the design features are proven in other handguns, the confluence of design is extraordinary in many ways.
The pistol elicits diverse reactions. I have shown it to friends and professionals and there have been many comments. While a few felt the pistol looked odd, others find the pistol looks futuristic. The pistol may have a modern appearance, but it also looks like a pistol that may have been designed at the turn of the last century.
The Hudson H9 is advertised as a mix of the best features of the 1911 handgun and modern striker-fired handguns. This is true to an extent. The single-action trigger offers a clean break that isn’t found with double-action only or safe action pistols. Yet the pistol may be carried safely without a manual safety.
The pistol is Browning like in many ways and I feel that it is more similar to the Browning Hi Power than the Colt 1911. With the Hi Power out of production this year, it seems that we have been given an alternative. With all respect to the Hi Power, the Hudson is the superior combat gun as my firing evaluations have shown. The Hudson is a design that should be respected by Glock fans and the 1911 enthusiast alike and at the same time it should stand on its own merits. One of the primary reasons is how low it sits in the hand.
LOW BORE AXIS
The H9 is fairly slim and compact, but with a bulbous nose that the casual observer might think houses a combat light or suppressor. That monolithic dust cover contains the recoil spring in a novel arrangement. By keeping the recoil spring under the slide in this manner, the bore axis of the pistol is effectively lowered. This results in superior shooting qualities as demonstrated during the firing rests. The lower bore axis and the straight to the rear recoil spring motion also reduces felt recoil.
The pistol features a light rail, which few 1911 handguns and no Hi Power 9mm handguns do. While the low xxxx bore axis results in low felt recoil, it also results in a low hanging combat light. It is different, but still useful for home defense.
Sometimes there is a lag time for holster makers to get up and running on making holsters for a new handgun. The Hudson I have personally tested is deployed in a PHLster holster. They are first with the most. This is a Kydex inside-the-waistband (IWB) design with good features, such as an anti-rollout attachment for use as an appendix holster. I would think this was a difficult piece to design a holster for, but PHLster has done an admirable job.
The balance of speed and retention is good. The Hudson H9 is flat enough and balanced well for concealed carry. The grip is thin enough for most hand sizes to obtain a good grip.
“WHEN ADDRESSING DRY FIRE SCENARIOS IN A DARKENED ROOM, I FOUND THE PLACEMENT OF THE SINGLE FRONT DOT HELPED IN WORKING WITH BOTH EYES OPEN.”
The pistol is similar in feel and size to the Browning Hi Power and the grip accepts a 14-round 9mm magazine. This magazine is unique to the Hudson. The grips are well done and are recessed into the grip frame. The grip texture offers a good balance of adhesion and abrasion. The front strap is checkered in custom style but it is machine checkering. The checkering isn’t as sharp as a Dan Wesson or Les Baer but well done and offers a good gripping surface.
Just behind the trigger guard is a depression similar to the Colt Enhanced treatment. This further lowers the bore
axis. The pistol features a beavertail grip tang. There is no grip safety. The mainspring housing is nicely checkered. The magazine well is slightly beveled.
The controls of the pistol are well designed. The ambidextrous slide lock is positive in operation and easily reached by the firing hand thumb. The magazine release is positive in operation.
The magazines are tapered at the top like all high capacity 9mm magazines. This makes for good speed in magazine replacement. The pistol is supplied with three magazines, a good thing. They were very stiff to load during the first range outing. After a dozen loadings or so they loosened to an extent.
This pistol calls for a magazine loader. I used the Blackhawk! magazine loader during these exercises. Even today with some 1,400 cartridges fired, the magazines are difficult to load to the full capacity. They are positive in operation and feed reliability is high.
The magazine release is easily changed from right to left hand. The trigger action is clean and breaks at 4.5 pounds. However, the trigger safety differs completely from most and may give some shooters trouble. Actuating the safety is a natural movement, but the trigger shoe that acts as a safety lever is hinged at the bottom. The safety isn’t a small lever inset in the trigger face but covers the entire trigger. As slack is taken up in the trigger shoe, the trigger shoe closes on the trigger face and the trigger is pressed to the rear.
The trigger is smooth, very crisp, if not quite as well refined as a Les Baer or high-grade Colt. However, the trigger safety is different than other designs and results in some shooters firing low. By carefully working the trigger to the rear and attempting to manage the trigger safety without affecting trigger pull, the shooter will be on target.
Also, you should be certain to dig into the dip in the front strap to properly manage shot placement.
The night sights are a great advantage in personal defense or home defense. The rear sight is a serrated unit with a wide rear notch that allows the front Trijicon HD to come into focus quickly. The HD type self-luminous iron sight features an orange dot that is highly visible in any type of light. By using the orange dot rather than the top of the sight for sighting, I was able to keep on track and get the pistol to fire to the point of aim. When addressing dry fire scenarios in a darkened room, I found the placement of the single front dot helped in working with both eyes open. That is an advantage over most systems.
The pistol shoots low with most shooters. All who fired the pistol noted its straight to the rear recoil. This is a component of the recoil spring recoiling
more toward the grip frame than the slide. The pistol shoots flat at long distances, perhaps due to limited muzzle rise. By applying the best technique possible to the pistol and concentration on the fundamentals, I was able to affect a grip and sight picture that proved acceptable for accurate fire and with a better correlation between the point of aim and point of impact.
As for reliability, the pistol has fired well over 1,000 rounds without a problem since the initial firing program. During the first box of ammunition, the striker failed to reset. Beyond that there have been no malfunctions. I have used a good quantity of Black
Hills Ammunition in this handgun, beginning with the 115-grain FMJ loading. This is a training load with good accuracy and a clean powder burn.
The Black Hills Ammunition 124-grain JHP at 1,100 fps has given good results. This load offers a good balance
“...THE HUDSON IS ACCURATE ENOUGH FOR PERSONAL DEFENSE AND MOST FORMS OF ACTION COMPETITION.”
of expansion and penetration and is pleasant to fire in any 9mm, but especially the Hudson H9. For a duty load, I would move to one of the Black Hills Ammunition +P loads, the 1,300 fps 115-grain or the 124-grain +P 1,200 fps loading. While they recoil a little more, the 35-ounce Hudson doesn’t exhibit much muzzle flip.
As for absolute accuracy, the Hudson is accurate enough for personal defense and most forms of action competition. I fired several five-shot groups of 2.5 inches at 25 yards from a solid bench rest. Most have been larger. The pistol is service-grade accurate, which means most groups with quality ammunition will be under four inches at 25 yards.
HIGH QUALITY, BUT DIFFERENT
Hudson went to a great deal of trouble to design the pistol and then combined top grade manufacturing process with forged steel and good components. The result is a pistol that works well, is accurate enough for defense use, and which is among the rare innovative handguns to come along in some time. The Hudson H9, however, isn’t for everyone. The Hudson is an interesting handgun and possess good features. Whether it is right for you is a personal decision. CC
“THE HUDSON H9 IS ADVERTISED AS A MIX OF THE BEST FEATURES OF THE 1911 HANDGUN AND MODERN STRIKER FIRED HANDGUNS.”
A new version with threaded barrel should be shipping soon. Hudson Manufacturing photo
A bulbous dust cover is a trademark of the Hudson pistol. Hudson Manufacturing photo A tritium front sight insert offers excellent hit probability.
The slide lock is easy to manipulate. Note that the trigger safety operates differently than those on other pistols.
This is the Hudson chassis between two frames. Hudson Manufacturing photo
The Hudson H9 is an innovative design with a very low bore axis. Hudson Manufacturing photo
A bulbous dust cover houses the recoil spring.