Before I talk about the features of the gun, let me say that this gun and my time behind it has led me to rethink my immediate negative reaction when some gun writer pens the phrase, “Practical Accuracy.” When seen within context of most articles I have always winced, viewing it as a dog whistle indicating poor accuracy. However, my off-the-shelf Hudson H9 that I purchased from a retailer has me re-defining practical accuracy more generously, i.e., being able to hit targets of a size commensurate with the defensive use of a handgun, effectively at practical distances and speed.
I love accurate guns and I adore really accurate handguns! They are great for range-time fun, and I do like to hit things! Accurate guns enable one to hit small things, far things, small and far things with less effort than lesser guns. It’s a lot of fun! Unfortunately, the H9 I bought is not one of those accuracy satisfying handguns. It is however a very fast gun to shoot, and thus, in gun games that place a premium on speed rather than pin-point accuracy, one can still have a good time!
As many of you know, I am the originator of the “Out of the Box to the Match” review format, usually in a Steel Challenge-like competition. That is how I found out that my H9 was fast and fun and plenty accurate enough…even practically accurate. A beautiful Idaho morning had me in the “shooter’s box” loading the Hudson for the very first time at the range officer’s command. The 5 steel targets in front of me were begging to be whacked in a hail of 115 Federal Syntec 9’s, and…Beep! Stage one down, then another and another. At the end I had managed to take both 2nd and 3rd over all using the H9 in both LIMITED and OPEN divisions. Given that this speed steel match was attended by three Master class shooters (me being one of them) I was pretty happy about my placement with this cool new blaster. Heck, I even won a stage!
So the Hudson is awesome, right? Well, it is damn easy to shoot well right from the box! At the match I, had no idea that it would only produce 5” groups at 25 yards from a sandbag rest! And that fact did not matter on match day as the gun was accurate enough to hit 4”x10” rectangles and 10” and 12” disks out to 18 yards in a hurry!
And that, Dear Readers, illustrates my new, kinder, gentler understanding of “Practical Accuracy.” It refers to a gun design that allows one to extract whatever accuracy level that the tool contains on demand and at speed.
Out of the Box to the Match means that I won’t know what any of the guns I review will or will not do, until after the buzzer sounds. POA/POI could be left, right, high, or low; or I could end up with a gun laden with malfunctions. That all happens in real time on the clock while you watch. At my H9’s debut event I found out while competing that the gun shot WAY low! Inches lower than a “Combat Sight Picture” (i.e. behind the front sight) would impact. I had to hold on the target hanger hooks to hit anywhere near the center of the target!
So though I placed well at the match, I was not happy to find that the sights are poorly regulated. And then later, during accuracy testing, I discovered that the gun does not shoot worth a crap from sandbags at 25 yards. What next? Get ahold of Hudson’s Customer Service and send it back to get it squared away!
But before we get to the results of that interaction, let me tell you a bit about the company and about the gun itself. Cy and Lauren Hudson, from what I can tell, just up and decided to build a cool new all-American handgun from the ground up. That is one hell of an undertaking and one I heartily applaud and support. Most of you know the story at least as well as I do, as the gun was very well-marketed and promoted to all of us.
Take a few minutes to look over some of the photos and I’ll fill in the details as I can. The machine work looks very good. The gun to my eye is brutishly handsome. It sports a good, if somewhat gritty trigger. The H9 is smaller in size than a 5” 1911, but holds more ammo – even though the grip is smaller in circumference! That is a pretty cool trick. Again, I like how the gun looks (ya maybe I am weird) and love how it feels in my hands.
The mag release is reversible, but the ambidextrous slide lock flexes a lot before releasing the slide if the right side lever is used. The sights and sight picture are excellent with a deep “U” notch rear and big beautiful Trijicon front. The magwell has a light bevel and the three mags hold 15 rounds.
The gun is all steel except for the lower backstrap (a 1911-esque mainspring housing), yet it weighs 5 ounces less than the Llama 38 super 1911 I compared it with. The fine checkering pattern on the front and rear of the grip does its job pretty well.
SPECS From Hudson Mfg.
- All Steel Construction
- Length 7.625”
- Height 5.225”
- Width 1.24”
- Barrel Length 4.28”
- Weight 34 ounces
- Trigger pull 4.5-5 pounds.
- Mag Cap 15
- G10 VZ Grips
- Trijicon Front sight with “U” notch rear
- MSRP $1147
And thus concludes our brief intermission, if you would all please return to your seats, we will continue with the results of our contact with Customer Service.
In a scant 3 weeks I get my H9 back, and off to the range I go to see if this gun can do it all and hopefully earn a spot among my favorite guns. Aaaand…there was no change in the gun’s accuracy. No change. At all.
From Customer Service via email.
Thank you for working with the Hudson Customer Service Team to diagnose and fix your H9. We found multiple machine marks in the bore of your barrel . We have replaced your barrel, worked with our supplier, and created a quality alert with our team internally. Thank you for your attention to this and for helping us resolve the issue.
This condition would have certainly impacted the accuracy of the system. We have tested your pistol in a ransom rest and zeroed it with a combat-sight picture (point of aim/point of impact will be the tritium vial) at 25 yards w/ 124gr black hills ammunition.
Your H9 has been test-fired to ensure function, cleaned, and is on its way back to you. The FedEx tracking number is XxxxxxxxxXxxx. If you experience any issues or have any questions about your H9, please reach out to us. We sincerely appriacte [sic] the opportunity to support our customers.
Thank you for supporting Hudson Mfg and we look forward to you enjoying your H9 experience.”
Well then. It’s been “zeroed with a combat-sight picture,” yet there is no change in POA vs. POI. And it still shoots, as a fan described, “Minute of Pie Plate.” And the return packaging contained no test target. I will however acquiesce to Customer Service as the bullets do impact behind the front sight at 25 yards, but understand that the POI is 4” to 6” below the top of the front sight!
Accuracy Data is as follows. Sandbagged 25 yards. Sixteen 5 shot groups with the Hudson H9. Four groups each with Federal American Eagle 115FMJ, Federal Train and Protect 115HP, Hornady 125 HAP Steel Match and Federal American Eagle 147FP. Additionally, I shot “proof groups” using two other striker fired handguns of similar sight radius and trigger quality. This can be seen on the test target photos, where the upper-most 5 shot group is either a Canik TP9SA or a Grand Power Q100, along with the Hudson’s effort.
The average for group for the Hudson over the 80 rounds was 4.61”.
The average for the two proof guns combined (40 rounds each) was 2.68”.
Taking the average of the ammo the H9 liked best (Fed AE 147FP) we arrive at 3.74”. While the two proof guns averaged 2.77” with the Hudson’s ammo choice.
So, off I go to my own shop to find out what’s going on. Because now, “I gotz to know!” In working to find the root cause of the accuracy issues, I checked slide to frame fit as well how the barrel fits in situ. Looking at the photos you will see that the muzzle end of the slide to frame fit is on the sloppy side in both the horizontal and vertical axes. That fitment alone is not helping the H9 to put bullets in a group rather than an apparent shotgun pattern. Adding to that is the notable vertical deflection of the barrel at the chamber end! However, both of these measurements may not be telling the complete story.
The H9 is unique in how it employs a version of the Browning tilting barrel locking system. It appears that the barrel locks up via an angled lug that bears up against the frame mounted cross pin. I included photos that show the barrel in lock-up, both fully assembled and without the slide in place. I am only speculating here, but I don’t see how this set-up can provide enough horizontal dwell time at firing for the bullet to leave before the barrel begins to move in the vertical plane. This might explain some accuracy issues. Of course, I am only postulating at this point. While I don’t have a full answer now, I will. So, be on the lookout for a “part two” here at GunsAmerica.
Given what we know about my particular Hudson H9, is it a Good or Bad or just a “Meh” gun? To answer that you have to decide for yourself what makes a handgun a good gun. Is it intrinsic accuracy? Is it ergonomics? It is economics? Is it reliability? How it looks? How it feels? For me, it is a balance of all those elements. You might have a different list. For my money (and it was, my money, that is.) it comes down to reliability and how it performs in my hands.
I like the H9, it was dead reliable and fun to shoot. It was easier to shoot with competence than the “mechanicals” would otherwise indicate, but Damn Sam, it should shoot like the $1100 dollar handgun that it is! Hell, it should shoot at least as well as most sub 500 dollar blasters I have purchased and tested! I “hear” some H9s are very accurate, so mine could be too. If that takes welding and refitting, then that is what I will do. But I will do it myself, I like the gun that much!
Learn more about the Hudson H9 by clicking here.