Citadel M1911A1-CS CIT9MMCSP 9mm Luger

The pistol is reliable and handles well. This is balanced against less accuracy than the other pistols and a front sight that is just too gray. Painting the front sight fixes the major problem. As for accuracy, it is accurate enough, if not exciting.


Gun Tests Grade: B (BEST BUY)


The Citadel 9mm is a 1911 type that operates in the same manner as the Ruger and the Tisas Commander, but it has the shortened slide and grip frame of the Officer’s Model, so it isn’t a Commander. The pistol features the Parkerized finish common to Philippine-produced 1911 handguns. The 3.5-inch barrel is a belled version that features good lockup with the slide. The locking lugs seem well fitted. The sights are Novak types, a good touch on an inexpensive handgun. Frankly, these sights are so common on inexpensive handguns these days, we see little point in purchasing a GI-type 1911 handgun with abbreviated sights. However, these sights do not feature a three-dot line up. The slide-lock safety is well fitted. It was a contrast to the slop we found in the Zenith Tisas slide-lock safety. However, it suffered in comparison to the Ruger’s crisp let off. The Citadel is good, just not quite as good. Another advantage in the Ruger is that the Ruger features a new-design integral plunger tube. This is the tube that holds the springs, keeping tension on both the slide lock and the slide-lock safety. They sometimes break off and must be re-staked. In long term use, the Ruger is superior to the other 1911 types in this regard. In re-evaluating the slide-lock safety fit of the Citadel, we cannot complain at all in this regard; however, all the raters noticed the differences. Not a defect, but a consideration, we agreed. The Ruger features a sharper indent.

Action TypeShort recoil-operated locked breech, single action
Overall Length7.15 in.
Overall Height4.9 in.
Maximum Width1.1 in.
Weight Unloaded34.0 oz.
Weight Loaded40.0 oz.
Barrel3.5 in.
MagazinesTwo 8 round
SlideMatte blued steel
Slide Retraction Effort16.5 lbs.
Frame Front Strap Height2.5 in.
Frame Back Strap Height3.0 in.
GripsCheckered wood
Grip Thickness1.2 in.
Grip Circumference5.6 in.
Front SightPost, dovetail base
Rear SightNovak type, windage adjustable
Trigger Pull Weight5.0 lbs.
Trigger Span (Single Action)2.4 in.
SafetiesGrip, slide lock
Warranty1 year
Telephone(800) 5 Legacy
Made InPhilippines
The Citadel Officer’s-size 1911 is a well-made handgun that we found to be reliable. The Citadel offers more cartridges than a comparably sized 45 ACP pistol.

The beavertail grip safety is properly designed and releases its hold on the trigger halfway into compression. The mainspring housing is nicely checkered. The grips are wood, and while the checkering isn’t presentation grade, it works. The fit of the slide to the frame was comparable to the other handguns. The pistol did not exhibit tool marks when field-stripped.

A comparison all of the raters made was that the Citadel Officer’s-size 9mm was about as easy to fire well as the Commander-type 9mms. This would not be true with the Officer’s Model in 45 ACP, which generates considerably more recoil than a Commander 45. The Citadel is actually heavier than the Ruger SR1911 Commander because the Citadel features a steel frame versus an aluminum frame for the Ruger. But the Citadel is by no means a burden to carry. The shorter sight radius may be an advantage in short-range combat drills because the shooter can quickly line the sights up, but there was a trade off in long range accuracy.

Even our smallest raters found the 9mm single-action handguns pleasant to fire and use. The Citadel’s light recoil invites practice.

We added two Metalform Officers Model eight-round magazines to the test. Despite the abbreviated grip of the Officer’s Model 1911, the raters were able to maintain a good grip on the handgun. The trigger span is the same as the other 1911 handguns. The trigger is a decent, crisp 4.5 pounds, leaving nothing to be desired. There is some take up, with no discernible creep. The pistol gave good results on the combat course with no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. The pistol was pleasant to fire. The Citadel would have performed better with a darker front sight or a fiber-optic front post. In certain light conditions, the front sight simply seemed to fade away. We rated the pistol down a half grade for this. We had to use sight black to resume firing. Otherwise, results were comparable to the Commander-type guns in the combat firing test. In bench accuracy, the Citadel trailed the pack. The two Commanders were quite accurate, and the Hi-Power clone provided surprising results. The Citadel is the least expensive handgun tested, and we did not expect match-grade accuracy. The handgun is more than accurate enough for personal defense. At 25 yards, groups ran from 2.9 to 3.5 inches. This isn’t great by 1911 standards, but it is good for the size of the pistol and the short sight radius. We rated the piece down a half grade on accuracy.

The Officer’s-size Citadel M1911A1-CS, being shot with one hand. Control is excellent.

Our Team Said: The pistol performed well, especially considering the price. The Citadel is reliable and is the easiest handgun to conceal of the handguns tested. It is the least expensive handgun tested. The finish isn’t as highly polished as the beautiful Hi-Power clone, the latter of which is more expensive. When we consider the advantages of the Citadel 1911, including its flat profile and grip safety, the ease of control, and low bore axis, we think the Citadel is the Best Buy for personal defense, despite it ranking a full grade lower than the Ruger SR1911.

9mm Luger Range Data

We fired groups at 25 yards from a solid benchrest position using a Bullshooters pistol rest. To record velocities, we placed a Competition Electronics Pro Chrony chronograph 10 feet from the muzzle of the firearm.
Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain FTX 90250Zenith Tisas ZiG PCS9Citadel M1911A1-CRuger SR1911Tisas Regent BR9
Average Velocity1164 fps1112 fps1150 fps1171 fps
Muzzle Energy346 ft.-lbs.316 ft.-lbs.338 ft.-lbs.350 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.1 in.2.9 in.2.2 in.1.8 in.
Average Group2.6 in.3.5 in.2.6 in.2.5 in.
Winchester PDX1 Defender 124-grain Bonded JHP +P Zenith Tisas ZiG PCS9Citadel M1911A1-CRuger SR1911Tisas Regent BR9
Average Velocity1184 fps1170 fps1191 fps1217 fps
Muzzle Energy386 ft.-lbs.377 ft.-lbs.391 ft.-lbs.408 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.4 in.2.8 in.2.2 in.2.4 in.
Average Group2.7 in.3.5 in.2.4 in.2.7 in.
Federal HST 147-grain P9HST2 Zenith Tisas ZiG PCS9Citadel M1911A1-CRuger SR1911Tisas Regent BR9
Average Velocity938 fps922 fps967 fps999 fps
Muzzle Energy287 ft.-lbs.277 ft.-lbs.305 ft.-lbs.326 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.0 in.2.7 in.2.1 in.2.3 in.
Average Group2.5 in.3.6 in.2.6 in.2.8 in.

Value Guide: 9mm Luger Handgun Rankings

Shadow Systems MR920 9mm Luger, $799April 2021AOur Pick. The Shadow Systems Multi Role (MR) pistol is basically an improved Glock 19. Excellent buy.
Sarsilmaz SAR9 9mm Luger, $400April 2021A-Best Buy. Many good features. We would have liked a lighter trigger action.
Tisas Zigana PX-9 9mm Luger, $330April 2021BReliable. Will appeal to those who like the Springfield XD-9. The primary drawback is a heavy trigger.
Ruger American Pro Duty 10 08607 9mm Luger, $579Feb 2021AOur Pick. $100 more than the others, but it was the most accurate pistol and had surprisingly light recoil.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ NTS 12437 9mm Luger, $479Feb 2021A-The Shield EZ9 was easy to manipulate and soft to shoot, but the sights needed to be calibrated better.
KelTec PF9 Blued-Black 9mm Luger, $358Feb 2021B+An inexpensive pistol that functioned flawlessly. It reminded us of a good 38 Special snubbie.
Taurus G3C 1-G3C931 9mm Luger, $306Feb 2021B+Best Buy. The Taurus G3C pistol is an inexpensive offering that functioned flawlessly and shot well.
Walther P38 9mm Luger, $800 to $1200Dec 2020AHeavy trigger and heel-type magazine release. Still an outstanding combat handgun.
Radom (Polish) VIZ 35 9mm Luger, $995Dec 2020B-Well-made handgun. A hardy, robust, and reliable handgun that never failed to function.
FN Browning Hi-Power 9mm Luger, $1200Dec 2020B-In its original form, it wasn’t the best of the dufflebag guns in a personal-defense role.
German Luger P-08 9mm Luger, $995Dec 2020DWe had problems with our test gun. It’s undoubtedly interesting, but its cost and 11 misfires soured us.
Ruger SR1911 LW Commander 06722 9mm Luger, $775May 2020AOur Pick. Relative newcomers to the 1911 world, Ruger has learned its craft in a hurry.
Springfield RO LW Compact PI9125L 9mm Luger, $730May 2020B+Best Buy. Good accuracy, most concealable profile. Sights were very visible but poorly calibrated.
Taurus 1911 Commander 1-191101COM-9MM 9mm, $470May 2020B-Impressive list of features for the price. The grade comes from poorer-than-expected accuracy.
Colt Lightweight Commander 04842XE 9mm Luger, $895May 2020CMost expensive pistol in our test. Disappointing poor performance and malfunctions.
Springfield Armory Hellcat HC9319BOSP 9mm Luger, $550March 2020AOur Pick. An 11+1 pistol, this small Springfield might be the most versatile pistol in the group.
Smith & Wesson PC Shield 2.0 11786 9mm Luger, $735March 2020AThe longest in this group, the Shield was the softest-shooting handgun and just missed being a Best Buy.
SIG Sauer P365XL 365XL9BXR3 9mm Luger, $579March 2020ALacks a rear sight when the optic is installed but hasa great trigger and overall performance.
Walther PPS M2 2805961 9mm Luger, $649March 2020ABest Buy. A smaller pistol with grips that will not abrade tender hands.
Arex Rex Delta REXDELTA-01 9mm Luger, $425Feb 2020ABest Buy. Reliability and practical accuracy are good, and the pistol is the right size for concealed carry.
Stoeger Industries STR-9 31721 9mm Luger, $350Feb 2020BIf you like the Glock 17, you will like the STR-9. Worth the money, but it is not our favorite.
Ruger Security-9 Compact Model 3818 9mm Luger, $309Feb 2020BThe pistol is adequate for the task and will not break the bank.
SIG P365 Nitron Micro-Compact 9mm Luger, $465Feb 2020BThe SIG costs more than the Ruger Security-9 without overwhelming advantages.
S&W M2.0 PC Shield 11787 9mm Luger, $430Jan 2020ABest Buy. Smooth and accurate, great sights and trigger. Costs a lot less than the SIG.
SIG Sauer P365XL P365XL-9-BXR3 9mm Luger, $580Jan 2020AOur Pick. The SIG P365XL was the most accurate of the four pistols tested.
Springfield Armory XDE9 XDE9389B 9mm Luger, $460Jan 2020ASlide is easier to retract, hammer-fired, DA/SA trigger set the XDE apart in this test.
Springfield Hellcat Micro-Compact 9mm Luger, $500Jan 2020F/AHellcat #1 failed when the trigger wouldn’t reset (F). Hellcat #2 worked perfectly (A). Best accuracy.
Glock 43X Ameriglo Night Sights PX435SL301AB 9mm Luger, $542July 2019AOur Pick. Firing grip is superior to the G43 and allows better shooting with little compromise.
Glock 48 PA485SL301AB 9mm Luger, $488July 2019ABest-shooting pistol in the test and the most powerful. Minimally more difficult to conceal.
Mossberg MC1sc 89001 9mm Luger, $365July 2019A-Best Buy. The Mossberg 9mm gave up little to the Glock designs. Reliability was never a question.
Springfield XD(M) 4.5 9mm Luger XDMT9459FDEHCE TB, $505April 2019AOur Pick as a personal-defense, home-defense, and tactical pistol.
Glock G34 Gen5 MOS PA3430103MOS 9mm Luger, $710April 2019AThe Gen5 guns are the best yet, with superior accuracy and features over earlier Glocks.
CZ-USA CZ P0-9 91620 9mm Luger, $402April 2019BBest Buy. CZ has managed to pack a lot of value into the P0-9. 19-round magazine.
FNH FNS-9L Longslide 66725 9mm Luger, $570April 2019BHeavier trigger than the other pistols. Accuracy wasn’t as good.
Glock 45 9mm Luger, $546April 2019AFast from concealed carry. The action allows a trained shooter to make fast hits. Reliable.
Beretta APX Compact JAXC921 9mm Luger, $449Jan 2019BMagazines were difficult to load. Slide was difficult to rack. Takedown button too tight.
SIG P320-M17 320F-9-M17-MS 9mm Luger, $770Jan 2019BThe grip fits most hands well and the sights are excellent. The DAO trigger was too heavy.
Beretta 92 FS JS92F300M 9mm Luger, $562Jan 2019BShows the age of its design with a slide-mounted decocker and long DA trigger pull.
Taurus G2S 1-G2S931 9mm Luger, $204Nov 2018ABest Buy. The Taurus pistol was reliable and controllable in rapid fire.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield SW180021BW 9mm Luger, $400Nov 2018AThe Battleworn Shield is reliable, accurate enough, and compact enough for EDC.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here