May 10, 2021
If you had asked people living in 1930 what kind of technology they’d see in the 2020s, the first thing you’d hear is “flying cars.” Once you explained them, these folks would also likely believe microwaves, the internet and smartphones. You know what they wouldn’t believe? That the most popular American pistol design in the year 2020 would still be the 1911.
The Ed Brown KC9 LW is perhaps the best example of how the design has evolved and improved in the last 110 years while still remaining a true 1911. Unlike the original all-steel full-size 1911, the KC9 LW is optimized for concealed carry.
This 9+1 capacity 9mm 1911 sports a four-inch barrel, a slide that has been thinned for weight reduction and concealability, night sights and a lightweight aluminum Bobtail frame. The pistol weighs just 27 ounces.
Instead of manufacturing them one at a time to order, Ed Brown Products is producing them in small custom batches and offering only a fixed configuration. That enables the company to sell the KC9 LW for $2,295, a third less than what the firm charges for its custom 1911s.
The four-inch match-grade Ed Brown bull barrel is stainless steel with fluting. It has a very aggressively angled crown cut. Unlike most 9mm 1911 barrels these days, it is not ramped, but that did not affect reliability or feeding at all.
That fat barrel sits inside a slide that has been thinned to 0.86 inch. Most full-size 1911 slides run about 0.91 inch. That 0.05 inch may not seem like much, but you can see it and feel it. The slide does not have a round top, but several angled flats shave weight and add style. The front and rear cocking serrations are both angled forward and in at the top. The KC9 has a larger pivoting external extractor.
Atop the slide you’ll see a Trijicon HD front sight that has a bright orange ring around a tritium insert that provides good visibility no matter the lighting conditions. The rear sight is one of Ed Brown’s Tactical Edge models, just slightly reduced in size to fit the narrowed slide. This rear sight has a vertical forward face that allows the slide to be racked one-handed on a hard surface. The notch in the rear sight is U-shaped, and the face of the sight is plain black and serrated.
The extended aluminum three-hole trigger has become standard on most modern 1911s, and the trigger group on the KC9 LW provided a crisp 4.25-pound trigger pull.
The thumb safety is single-sided and extended. The beavertail is a design that Ed Brown, in my opinion, not just invented but perfected. The magazine release is checkered but not extended since it’s on a gun built to be flat and concealable. To complement the flat profile, the gun wears slender black G10 grips with a ribbed horizontal texturing that is very effective.
Both the frontstrap and mainspring housing offer Ed Brown’s Snakeskin treatment. This texturing looks just like snake scales, and just like snake scales it is directional. Run your finger up the gun, front or back, and the Snakeskin is smooth. Run your finger down and you will find there are edges that dig into your finger just a bit. The Snakeskin on the mainspring housing is sharper than on the frontstrap, and I wish the frontstrap texturing was that aggressive.
The Bobtail frame is a neat modification to the 1911 design that has appeared only recently. The bottom rear corner of the frame is the part of the gun that prints against a covering garment, right? The Bobtail cuts off that back corner, making the pistol significantly more concealable. It slightly changes the angle the pistol sits in your hand, making it a tad more vertical, but most people won’t even notice or care.
Two nine-round stainless steel magazines made by Ed Brown are provided. They have non-tilt followers and a spacer at the back to position the 9mm rounds properly for feeding into the chamber. You’ll also get several polymer base pads and the screws to attach them to the magazines if you so desire. While these extended base pads will protect the mags if you drop them, their real purpose is to ensure positive seating of the magazine during a mag change, as the unmodified magazine sits totally flush with the bottom of the frame.
Shooting the pistol was just a joy. I used it to run a plate rack over and over and practice double-taps on silhouettes. Recoil was controllable, and the pistol ate every kind of jacketed hollowpoint round I fed it—which is what you should expect of a 1911 from a custom house as storied as Ed Brown.
Ed Brown EVO KC9 LW 9mm Pistol Specs:
- Type: 1911
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 9+1
- Barrel Length: 4 in.
- OAL/Height/Width: 7.5/5.4/1.2 in.
- Weight: 27 oz.
- Construction: carbon steel slide, aluminum alloy frame
- Sights: Trijicon HD front, Tactical Edge rear
- Grips: black G10
- Trigger: 4.25 lb. pull (measured)
- Safeties: grip, thumb
- Price: $2,295
- Manufacturer: Ed Brown Products, EdBrown.com