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Hudson H9A

Unquestionably, the talk surrounding the 2017 SHOT Show was the Hudson Mfg H9. Hell, we were talking about it too, having closely tracked the progress of the pistol from early prototypes all the way to launch, and even featuring it on the cover of RECOIL Issue 29.

A number of new products are always revealed at SHOT Show — lots of promise and lots of disappointment later down the road when invariably they aren’t released, released very late, rife with problems, or a combination thereof (ACR, anyone?). Scroll through any coverage of SHOT from past years and you’ll see ungodly amounts of vaporware.

Even though from the outside it seemed like a long shot, Hudson Mfg came through and actually put their pistols in people’s hands before the year was up. Sure, there were some delays due to manufacturing and logistical issues, but that’s nothing totally unexpected from a new product from a new company. When the Hudson H9 first hit distributors, most of them were hurriedly purchased by distributor employees themselves before getting to dealers. Almost immediately they were seen on Gunbroker and similar auction sites selling for more than twice the MSRP. That is to say, people were excited about the Hudson H9.

The Hudson H9 is a premium pistol — an all-steel assembly, striker-fired for the younger generation and G10 VZ grips even your grandfather would enjoy. While many bemoaned the thick nose that allows for both science-fiction looks and such a low-bore axis, we haven’t heard many complaints from those who actually have some real time behind the trigger.

Stripping the H9A is scary, at least the first 30 or 50 times you do it.

Stripping the H9A is scary, at least the first 30 or 50 times you do it.

No Rest for the Wicked, or the Hudsons
With such a high demand behind their premiere pistol, we wouldn’t begrudge Hudson Mfg from riding the wave at least until SHOT 2019. But lo, did they have something else in store for us: the Hudson H9A. Hudson teased out the H9A over a period of time, with many wondering exactly what the “A” stood for. While many theories involved it being a new plastic fantastic, the “A” was for aluminum. But there is indeed some polymer involved as well.

The example we have in our hands is a preproduction, and perhaps a bit of a unicorn. The final production H9As will have some differences, and we’ll note each as we move through the pistol.
Like the SIG SAUER P320 and MHS, the Hudson H9 is a chassis gun. This means that the fire control group (FCG), and the frame surrounding it are legally considered the “pistol.” What we’d normally refer to as the frame, they call a grip. This can get a little confusing; sorry Hudson, regardless of the legal status, we’re calling the part most would call the frame the frame.

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A Complete Pistol
We initially theorized that due to the modular nature of the H9, the H9A would simply be an accessory just like any number of P320 grips. That theory proved false once we got our hands on one. Though the differences are subtle and can go largely unnoticed to those unacquainted, there’s more going on than the material itself.

First and foremost, the H9A is a whopping half-pound lighter than the H9. Half a pound is rather insignificant on a rifle — hell, if a friend told you they lost half a pound you’d give some kind of fake praise. But on a pistol? On a pistol, it completely changes the feel. To give you an idea of how much lighter it is, an H9A with a Gemtech Lunar-45 mounted is only a mere 2 ounces heavier than a naked H9.

In order to accomplish this drastic diet, Hudson Mfg had the H9A frame machined from 7075 billet aluminum instead of steel. But there’ll be no steel-on-aluminum wear, as the steel rails the slide rides on are part of the chassis itself. What you see within these pages is quickly anodized aluminum, and we anticipate production frames will rock much deeper anodizing or perhaps even DLC.

On a regular H9, the two-piece backstrap is entirely machined, whereas the same parts on the H9A are polymer (the beavertail on our example is actually 3D printed, though we doubt that’ll be the case with production models). Instead of VZ G10 grips, the H9A is rolling with the less-exotic plastic grips. We’re told that some aspects of the grip panels may change.

The lighter weight of the H9A makes for a great concealed carry pistol.

The lighter weight of the H9A makes for a great concealed carry pistol.

For the rest of this article, subscribe here: Concealment 9

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