Hudson Manufacturing was at the Industry Day at the Range and presented one of the most anticipated new handguns for 2017. The Hudson H9 is double-stack, 9mm pistol, based upon the grip and frame of the Model 1911, but using a striker fired action and innovative recoil system. The previews videos on the Hudson H9 lit the fires of anticipation, and actually getting our hands on one did not disappoint.
The Hudson H9 takes its name from the company owners’ last name, and they are very excited to finally get the H9 to market. Through innovative engineering, and precision machining, the Hudson H9 is a really unique and attractive pistol – inside and out.
Hudson H9 Pistol
The Hudson H9 delivers a very unique profile, reminiscent of a Star Wars blaster, while maintaining several very familiar firearm features. The H9 is a striker fired 9mm pistol, designed around the famous Model 1911 grip angle John Moses Browning introduced over 100 years ago. However, the H9 goes much further than any predecessor by incorporating a very low bore axis, bringing the slide very close to the frame.
To accomplish this engineering feat, Hudson hired some very good engineers from the industry to develop an entirely new recoil system. Instead of traditional recoil management being just below the barrel in the slide, the Hudson H9 moves the recoil spring and mechanism down into the box located just in front of the trigger guard. In addition, Hudson moves the cam and lugs forward, producing a very straight recoil design. Instead of traditional recoil that tends to cause the barrel and front end of the pistol to tilt upward after firing, the Hudson H9 pushes the recoil back into the shooter’s hands to create a much more manageable recoil.
The H9 muzzle is rounded and beveled providing a very unique appearance that also reduces overall weight. Both the slide and grip are forged steel, yet the final product is not overly heavy. This was another design must for the Hudson Team to stay true to the 1911 theme, while making some changes to provide a unique appearance. The slide and grip are QPQ black nitride treated for superior protection from scratches and the elements.
Hudson has designed the H9 with a stainless steel barrel, and a one-piece stainless steel chassis. This was one of the design enhancements along the way to provide better stability while cycling, and it allows Hudson to serialize the chassis as opposed to the frame. That is why they refer to the traditional frame as a grip rather than a frame.
The Hudson H9 trigger is a straight pull-back design, much like the Model 1911, however there is a trigger safety mechanism that acts as a drop safety. This trigger is very smooth, with no drag or uptake as the trigger is pulled to the rear. In addition, once the pistol fires, trigger reset is amazingly short and crisp. In fact, I would say this is one of the lightest and smoothest trigger resets I have felt among striker fired pistols – it really is that smooth.
The Hudson H9 will come with a Trijicon HD front sight in an M&P sight cut, and a proprietary U-notch rear sight with proprietary cut. Though the Hudson Team understands the desire of firearms owners to have sight options, they felt the system worked best in its final version.
Perhaps one of the few drawbacks to the H9 (other than price) is the use of proprietary magazines. This was necessitated due to the lower bore axis, that required the magazine catch slots to be lower. However, Hudson is basing their magazines on the venerable Smith & Wesson 5906 magazines, and promises additional magazines will not be more than $34.99. To somewhat sweeten the deal, each Hudson H9 will ship with (3) 15-round magazines.
The Hudson H9 going to market has been a work in progress for over 3 years. The first prototype, labelled the “Brick”, was a noticeably heavy chunk of steel with very rough edges. However, the functionality and innovative design enabled the owners to get funding to continue the design renovations. The second prototype, labelled “The Boat Anchor”, was still heavy but began to take on a greater sense of the overall imagination for the H9. This included the innovative recoil system, better trigger controls, and advanced sights. A lot of pressure was placed on the owners to go to market with the second version, but thankfully they held out wanting a better overall product.
A third version dialed in many of the desires for a lighter pistol, before the final Hudson H9 design was finalized and ready for release. It can be very frustrating to wait so long to bring a product to market, but the Hudson Team did a very good thing in waiting. The final Hudson H9 version is lightweight, with a great recoil management system, and a fantastic trigger.
The Hudson Team has already said this final design version has opened the doors for a “family” of firearms to spring forward, to include various calibers and perhaps even different sizes.
Hudson H9 Features
- Model 1911 grip angle
- All steel construction
- Very low bore axis
- Grip safety
- Straight pull-back trigger
- Stainless steel barrel and chassis
- Smooth trigger pull
- Fast, crisp trigger reset
- Trijicon HD front sight
- Extended beaver tail grip
Hudson H9 Specifications
- Slide Material: Steel
- Grip Material: Steel
- Overall Length: 7.8 inches
- Barrel Material: Stainless steel
- Barrel Length: 4.125 inches
- Weight: 34.0 ounces (unloaded)
- Trigger Pull: 4.5 to 5.0 pounds
- Trigger Travel: .115 inches
- MSRP: $1147.00.
So far I’ve really enjoyed the Hudson H9. The relatively lightweight all-steel pistol has a remarkably good recoil management with the low bore axis and lowered front recoil action. Shooting the H9 was very comfortable and I experienced very good accuracy at about 10 yards. The trigger is smooth, and the reset is probably the best I’ve experienced. I’m really impressed with the bold design concept, and the Hudson Team’s willingness to delay release until the engineering features matched their ideas.
The two biggest drawbacks to the Hudson H9 are the price, and the use of proprietary magazines. The $1147 price tag is a hurdle, but not one that is insurmountable considering the innovative design enhancements. Sights are another concern, with a proprietary rear sight, but I had no problems acquiring a good sight picture in the current set up.
However, the Trijicon front sight is an upgrade from standard 3-dot or bar sights, and Hudson is providing (3) magazines with each H9 sold. The Trijicon HD front sight is an excellent choice for rapid sight alignment. Anyone serious about faster sight alignment and target acquisition should highly consider a different colored front sight. It also appears that additional Hudson magazines will not be unreasonable in price, but availability may be limited at first while Hudson works out agreements with distributors and retailers.
It will be very interesting to see where Hudson goes from here, and I absolutely wish them all the best. Though not specifically designed into this original release I’m confident that a successful launch will introduce more calibers, sizes, and likely pistol light/laser attachments. In addition, Hudson is already in talks with holster and accessory companies to provide the necessary gear for shooters.