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Daniel Defense Answers the Question: Is the H9 Plagued Forever?

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Every once in a while, a gun comes along that gains a cult-like following right out of the gate. I started writing and working in the firearms industry in 2017. That was the year Hudson Manufacturing unveiled its first firearm, the H9 pistol, at the SHOT Show. Unfortunately, the H9 was plagued with problems ever since, so Daniel Defense decided to take a run at it.

The Daniel Defense H9

The Hudson Manufacturing H9 received a ton of attention due to its unique looks and novel design. It quickly gained popularity and a following. I was lucky enough to go hands-on with an original model, H9, right when it came out to the public.

Unfortunately, the H9 was plagued with problems from the get-go. This included things breaking that really shouldn’t break, and unreliable feeding and performance. Not to mention accuracy issues, which were likely caused by the bore itself being oversized for some reason.

Because of all the issues with these original H9s the company itself faced a mess of litigation and lawsuits. Likewise, the company allegedly did not pay for many parts. This subsequently led to the demise of the young company and, ultimately, bankruptcy.

Naturally, with all these company problems and the eventual bankruptcy, the H9 was placed on the firearms endangered species list. As a result, it nearly completely disappeared from existence. That was until SHOT Show 2024, when Daniel Defense pretty much broke the industry with the announcement of the resurrection of the H9.

So, did Daniel Defense resurrect a problem child? Or did the company fix the issues and make the gun the world wished Hudson Manufacturing made back in 2017?

What Took So Long?

Well, according to Daniel Defense, the H9 took so long to come back to market because the company wanted to make sure it was right. At SHOT Show, I was told that almost every part was redesigned and is completely unique to the new H9. This was to ensure reliability and prevent a repeat of the original.

I was excited about this pistol, but at the same time, I was very skeptical. My initial thoughts when I first picked this gun up was that it wasn’t that impressive.

I am a big 1911 guy, so I do like the grip angle because it is very close to that of a 1911. The trigger is just strange, with the safety being depressed from the top instead of the bottom like most pistols, and it just felt bulky.

The author likes the grip angle because it is very close to that of a 1911.

Again, this is my first impression of it from the wall at SHOT Show. At the range, it turned into a bit of a different story.

First, let’s break this pistol down a little, and then we will talk about the really important stuff—shooting it.

The H9 in Detail

The slide has some very sleek and sexy lines on it from the machining process. It has decent forward slide serrations thrown in between some subtle angles up on the front of the slide. The top is also serrated to cut down glare.

The slide features forward serrations, and the front of the slide houses a fiber optic front sight.

The version I received was optics-ready but did not come with any plates in the box. However, it did include a coupon that is good for one free plate from Daniel Defense. The rear of the slide has matching serrations that aren’t super deep but provide ample grip when manipulating the slide.

Daniel Defense throws a front fiber optic and rear blacked-out serrated sight setup on the H9. In my opinion, the iron sight setup is perfect for this package. Very easy to acquire quickly and just gives a great sight picture in any lighting conditions.

The Daniel Defense H9 is optic-ready but instead of a mounting plate, the pistol comes with a couple for a plate.

The 4.28-inch stainless steel barrel is coated in black nitride and looks great in the pistol. Daniel Defense claims that the pistol has a low bore axis. But honestly, I think that is sort of a marketing ploy because it isn’t any lower than most of the pistols I shoot.

The slide sits on a lightweight 7075 Aluminum frame with a STANAG 4694 rail up front. The frame has a very similar grip angle as that of a 1911 but in a striker-fired package. Additionally, the textured G10 grip panels are removable, and I am sure we will see aftermarket panels available very soon.

The textured G10 grip panels are removable, and there may be aftermarket panels available very soon.

Featuring an ambidextrous slide stop and reversible magazine button, the H9 accommodates all shooters. The 15-round magazines fit very nicely into the straight frame. To my delight, Daniel Defense throws 3 of them in the box as they should for a pistol with a $1,299 MSRP.

An Interesting Trigger

The trigger on the H9 is nothing short of interesting. It is actually smooth and has virtually no creep or pre-travel at all. However, the safety design is not impressive.

The safety requires a fairly long pull to engage so that you can reach the trigger shoe itself. It operates from the top instead of the bottom, which initially creates a disconnect between your finger and your brain. You just don’t know where to place your trigger finger on the curved trigger.

The Daniel Defense H9 has a three-slot Picatinny rail for attaching accessories.

Once you get past the safety, though, the trigger is smooth and crisp with a short audible reset. There is no grittiness at all, and the pull is very smooth, but that safety is kind of terrible.

Shooting the Daniel Defense H9

On the range, the H9 functioned fairly well. I ran a variety of ammo through the gun, including Black Hills 115gr FMJ, Black Hills 124gr JHP, Hornady American Gunner 124gr JHP, Remington 115gr UMC, and Federal Syntech Defense 138gr JHP.

All of the ammo ran well, but none of it was flawless. I ended up running 400 rounds total through the gun. I experienced several stove pipes and a handful of feed issues. Specifically, the round would end up jammed into the top of the barrel and not make it into the chamber. So, the actual projectile was nose up, and the slide would slam on the top of the casing.

The author shooting the Daniel Defense H9.

Accuracy was spot on, and I easily achieved 1-inch groupings of five shots with all the ammo tested. I did seem to shoot the 124gr Black Hills JHPs a little better, and they seemed to run the best in the gun out of everything else.

I am not a huge fan of the safety design on the trigger. However, the trigger feels good and delivers a very consistent, smooth pull every time. Overall, on the range, the gun was enjoyable to shoot, and I think with some more time, the feed issues and stove pipes may just work themselves out.

Parting Shots

I wouldn’t call the new H9 a complete win just yet. But the fact that it is being produced in the US by Daniel Defense gives me confidence that the kinks will be worked out very quickly.

The model I had in hand was a very early production model. I fully believe Daniel Defense will produce the quality they are known for just in a much smaller package than its AR-15s. The best part is, like everything the company sells, the new H9 is backed by Daniel Defense’s 100% Satisfaction guarantee.

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Daniel Defense Specs

Pistol Caliber 9 MM
Mags Included 3
Magazine Capacity 15
Sights Carbon Steel with Dovetail Cut and Fiber Optic Front Sight (Zeroed at 25yds)
Pistol Size Compact
Overall Length 7.69″
Overall Width 1″ at slide
Height 5.12″
Barrel Length 4.28″
Weight 29.6oz w/empty mag
Accessory Rail STANAG 4694
Action Striker Fired
Trigger Type BH-SP (Bottom Hinge – Straight Pull)
Grip Panel G-10
Grip Material Aluminum
Grip Finish Anodized
Material Stainless Steel
Slide Finish DLC Coating
Slide Material 4340 Alloy Steel
Optic Ready Yes
MSRP $1,299.00
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The post Daniel Defense Answers the Question: Is the H9 Plagued Forever? appeared first on Athlon Outdoors.

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