Daniel Defense is no newbie in the firearms industry; well known for its quality AR-15s and AR-10s. But many, including myself, have been wondering if and when a handgun would ever make its way into the Daniel Defense lineup. 

Well, that time is now, with the brand new Daniel H9. From a quick glance, the H9 may not look all that impressive to you, but as with any firearm, the performance is much more important than the aesthetics.

Daniel Defense H

Meet the new Daniel Defense H9.

I was able to get my hands on the H9 at SHOT Show this year, but I haven’t gotten to shoot it just yet. It was hard enough to even get to the display wall at the Daniel Defense booth as it was packed shoulder to shoulder for the majority of the show. 

Even though it was just released, it may look familiar to you. That’s because a very similar H9 was unveiled in 2017 by Hudson Mfg., but the company wound up filing for bankruptcy only a couple of years later in 2019. Fast forward several years and Daniel Defense announced it wound up purchasing the patents from Hudson Mfg. and was going to bring the pistol back to life.

Hudson H9

Does the original Hudson H9 look a bit familiar? Source: wikipedia

Daniel Defense’s First Handgun

Daniel Defense didn’t want to enter the handgun market by rolling out some boring run-of-the-mill pistol. The H9 aims to deliver 1911-style ergonomics with the easy maintenance you’d expect from a striker-fired handgun.

Daniel Defense H9

An ambidextrous slide release comes standard.

Its aircraft-grade aluminum frame provides durability without tipping the scales, and a low bore axis helps mitigate muzzle flip, which gives the shooter a very pleasant shooting experience. In case you’re on the fence about it being Daniel Defense’s first handgun, know that it’s backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


The low bore axis results in less muzzle flip. Source: danieldefense

Admittedly, I’ve read a fair amount of less-than-stellar reviews since the H9s launch just several weeks ago, so that 100% satisfaction guarantee should help put some reservations at bay.

Features & Specs

The H9 has been seen being compared to the Glock 19 due to its similar size and capacity. Just like the Glock 19, the H9 offers a 15+1 standard capacity, and they both come in around five inches tall.

Daniel Defense DANIEL H9 9mm 15 Round Magazine
Daniel Defense DANIEL H9 9mm 15 Round Magazine
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However, the H9 weighs almost six ounces more and has a barrel that is roughly a quarter of an inch longer.

Daniel Defense H9

A 15+1 capacity is the minimum I would expect, given the size of the H9.

Caliber 9mm
Capacity 15+1
Barrel Length 4.28 Inches
Overall Length 7.69 Inches
Weight 29.6 Ounces (with empty mag)
Action Striker
Trigger Type Bottom Hinge – Straight Pull
H9 and Glock 19

You can see how close in size the H9 is to the Glock 19. Source: handgunhero

One of the features that makes the H9 stand out is its trigger. It’s a stainless steel straight pullback trigger that utilizes a trigger blade safety and hinges from the bottom. Just a few quick dry fires reveal a very unfamiliar but smooth pull. There is very little takeup, followed by a crisp break and quick reset. 

I’m definitely not sold on the trigger but I am looking forward to giving it a fair shot at the range soon.

Daniel Defense H9 Trigger

The trigger is…unique. I can see it taking some time to get used to.

Another part of Daniel Defense’s goal with the H9 was to deliver pointability similar to that of a 1911, and with that in mind, I would say it succeeded. The grip angle paired with the G-10 grip panels definitely gives you a feeling similar to a 1911. 

The grip texture, while aggressive enough to maintain a strong grasp, looks and feels a bit cheap, like a first-timer stipple job. If the H9 ever joined my family, I think one of the first matters of business would be new grips.

Daniel Defense H9 G-10 Grip

The fully removable G-10 grip panels are less than impressive but get the job done.

One aspect I can’t complain about is the controls, as they are customizable and ambidextrous. They are also sized appropriately, which seems to be an issue with some of the newer guns lately, but not this one. Small details like the controls aren’t usually a deal-breaker or maker, but it’s nice when you don’t have to worry about changing them out. 

Of course, you’ll also find the features that are becoming “standard” in the industry, such as an optics-ready slide with front and rear slide serrations and an accessory rail to mount your favorite light.

Daniel Defense H9 Slide Serrations

You’ll also find top slide serrations.

All in all, I can see why the H9 draws so much attention, with it balancing different feature sets from different styles of guns. But at the end of the day, is it really worth the steep price tag?

Purchase or Pass?

I’ve spoken with many people and read many reviews, revealing mixed feelings about the H9. As for me? I’m undecided until I get to spend some range time with it.

Given the $1,299 MSRP, it’s going to take a lot of impressive shooting to make that price tag start to make sense to me. While I know it’s not comparing apples to apples, you can buy a Glock 19 Gen5 for less than half of the price and have several hundred dollars left over to buy ammo and accessories.

Once I have the opportunity to throw some lead down range with the Daniel H9, I’ll try to get a full hands-on review posted. Until then, be safe, train hard, and have fun!