When it comes to striker-fired polymer-framed pistols, we don’t see a lot of interesting variations, but the ones we do see are usually top ten 9mm handguns. The Glock format of partially cocked striker-fired designs that aren’t precisely DAO or SAO models is pretty much the standard. Outside of Glock, we see designs like this from FN, HK, Ruger, and quite a few more all follow this design. It works, but is the end all be all of the striker-fired models?
Walther certainly doesn’t think so, and they produced the original P99 design. This P99 design has been widely licensed and used by numerous companies and countries. This particular design was picked up by Magnum Research, the famed creator of the Desert Eagle. Walther partnered with Magnum Research for this specific gun and brought the P99 trigger system to the new MR9 Eagle handgun. Walther is the company that produces the frame for the gun, and Magnum Research provides the slide and barrel assembly.
The famed striker-fired system is one of the few DA/SA striker-fired designs. DA/SA designs are most commonly reserved for hammer-fired handguns and were popularized by the CZ 75, SIG P series, and S&W Third Generation guns. This model uses the same idea, but with a striker-fired system.
The MR9 Eagle is a mid-sized gun that’s roughly the same size as a Glock 19. It’s designed to be a gun that sits in an exciting space. While it’s larger than most concealed carry guns, it’s still lightweight and easy to conceal. The weapon itself is large enough to have a respectable capacity and to be easy to shoot.
It would work well for home defense, as well. The gun is equipped with a proper Picatinny rail as well. The original P99 had a rail that was compatible with most Picatinny accessories but wasn’t precisely an in-spec rail. The MR9 has a standardized rail that makes it easy to attach lights like the TLR-1 from Streamlight or even the form-fitting TLR-7.
Caliber – 9mm
Capacity – 15 rounds
Barrel Length – 4 inches
Overall Length – 7.13 inches
Height – 5.31 inches
Slide Width – 1.28 inches
Weight – 24.8 ounces
The first trigger pull is a long and heavy one after the weapon fires subsequent shots in single action. The single-action trigger is remarkably light and brilliant, but we’ll talk a little more on that later. The weapon also has a decocker that allows you to place the gun back into double-action mode. There is also the Anti-stress mode.
The anti-stress trigger is designed to give the weight of a single action trigger with the Length of pull of a double-action trigger. The anti-stress trigger is also a two-stage design. The first stage clicks by effortlessly, leaving you with the traditional single-action trigger weight and pull. This anti-stress mode was made for police and military officers to give them a more significant margin of error when they draw their weapons. This system was to reduce the likelihood of a negligent discharge. This added feature definitely makes this gun a top ten 9mm handgun contender.
I belie in just keeping your finger off the trigger. Call me old school, I guess. The decocker is a large button on the slide that is quick and easy to use and very responsive. There is no doubt that the trigger is decocked when the button is pressed.
Fit and Finish
The slide is gorgeous stainless steel and looks very nice. I’m a sucker for stainless steel, and the MR9 is a beautiful gun. The design sets you up for an attractive two-tone look that is distinguished in a world of black polymer pistols, one reason as to why this firearm is a top ten 9mm handgun?
The slide is marked with MR9 Eagle, as well as the location the gun was made, and on the opposite side, we have Magnum Research. I typically prefer minimal markings on my weapons. While these are the billboard that Taurus provides, they are still very noticeable, and the contrasting fonts isn’t that appealing to me.
The polymer grip looks excellent and is distinguished from the P99 grip with different texturing. The molding marks are nearly invisible, and Walther does take their time to ensure the proper fit and finish of every piece. In a world where most striker-fired polymer frame pistols all seem to look and function alike, the MR9 stands apart as something unique.
Ergonomics and Grip Design
The people at Walther are absolute champs when it comes to grip design, catapulting this firearm to top ten 9mm handguns. Magnum Research was wise to allow them to design and produce the grip. I like to joke that Walther makes grips for people who have hands because they fit like a glove. Compared to a company like Glock, Magnum Research has an absolutely fantastic grip which is another reason we have a top ten 9mm firearm on our hands.
The rear of the grip has an excellent palm swell that helps the grip feel less blocky and more form-fitting. The front of the grip has slight contours that accommodate the hand. The MR9 comes with three interchangeable backstraps. I utilize the medium grip, but there is also a small and large rear grip adapter available.
Swapping them is simple, and you need a punch to push out a pin, swap the grips and put the pin back in. The sides of the grip are scalloped to allow your hand to conform to the grip and allows comfortable placement of thumb and trigger finger. The grip and trigger guard work together with a high undercut to allow for a high grip on the gun.
When we move on to ergonomics, the first thing we need to mention is the magazine release. You are either going to love it or hate it. It’s located on the trigger guard, and to activate it, you push it downwards. It is completely ambidextrous and to me, very simple and easy to use. With my right hand, I can activate it with both my trigger finger and thumb.
If you are used to a button, it will be a significant change, but to me, it’s more intuitive and more comfortable to activate. I can release the magazine without having to shift my hand. It’s quicker, and dare I say easier. To become proficient with this system, you do have to practice, and possibly retrain your habits, but it is easy to master both systems.
The gun lacks any manual safety, and that’s a good thing. The AS trigger and double-action design makes it plenty safe, which is to be expected for a top ten 9mm handgun. The slide lock is well-positioned. I typically have trouble with my fat thumbs resting on the slide lock while firing, often rendering it inoperable. The MR9’s slide lock is placed far enough forward that it functions correctly.
I do have one ergonomic complaint, and it’s the serrations the MR9 has on the rear of its slide. These serrations are super shallow and very short. They can be challenging to grasp, and this makes racking the gun more difficult. The weak grip will be felt by shooters with reduced hand strength the most.
On the Range
Let’s go ahead and talk about that trigger. The DA/SA design makes it unique enough, but Magnum Research and Walther have ensured you are getting more than just an exceptional trigger. You are getting a damn good one. The double-action trigger is easily one of the most refined and well-made double-action triggers out there.
It’s a hefty 8 pounds, and the pull is quite long, but man, oh man, is it a smooth trigger. It glides rearward and is easy to control. The key to accurate shooting is a good sight picture and then pulling the trigger without disturbing that sight picture. That’s very easy to do with the MR9, even in double-action mode. The double-action is remarkably smooth, and one of the best production double-action triggers out there.
The single-action is just as impressive. It’s superbly light and short. The trigger is flawless as far as I’m concerned. I have a custom trigger from Cajun Gunworks in one of my CZ’s, and this trigger feels as good as my expensive custom trigger. The single-action trigger will serve as an excellent aid in shooting accurately, especially at longer ranges.
Outside of making tiny groups possible, it’s straightforward to shoot rapidly and accurately. The single-action trigger is so short that you can shoot scary fast with it with a little practice. Once you learn the reset and how to work it, you can spit lead at a crazy accurate rate. Pulling off double taps, failure to stop drills, as well as rapid-fire headshots is very doable with this excellent trigger. The single-action reset is delightfully short, and it features a very audible and tactile reset that is hard to beat.
As I mentioned before, the weapon’s trigger is an excellent feature for accurate shooting. The barrel is cold hammer-forged, and that’s an impressive feature to have in such an affordable handgun. The rear sight is adjustable, and the gun comes with several front sights to compensate for elevation changes. With a little time and experimentation, you can make this a very accurate gun at a variety of ranges which is another reason to add this firearm to your list of top ten 9mm handguns.
At 25 yards, I can still make accurate and small groups into the head of a target. At 50 yards, I can ring a 21-inch tall steel popper the majority of times I shoot at it. 3 out of 5 is my lowest score at 50 yards. Beyond that and we are trying to extend the range of what a handgun can do.
Recoil and Control
Speaking of shooting quickly, one of the main factors in accurate and rapid shooting is how easy a gun is too control. The MR9 is very easy to manage, and the full-sized grip and 9mm chambering mean recoil is minimal. Keeping the muzzle and sights on target is simple, and when this comes to combat, shooting, the MR9 shines.
It’s effortless to control, and you can drive the gun and swap between areas of a target or targets themselves. The MR9 points very naturally, and you can direct fire between multiple targets very swiftly.
I executed a Box Drill on two targets from the draw in under 4 seconds. A box drill is six shots total on two targets and includes two headshots. I did this drill cold with little practice and placed every shot accurately in very little time. I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy this gun handles.
It’s a weapon I like when teaching new shooters. It’s small enough that the grip is comfortable in most small hands, and the recoil is very mild. The gun’s light trigger is also easy to teach trigger control with. The accuracy of the gun is impressive, and that will often help new shooters develop confidence, once again producing a top ten 9mm handgun. That light trigger also serves an essential purpose and teaches students that a firearm can go off very quickly if your finger isn’t straight and off the trigger.
The deciding factor for nay gun can be how often it chokes, and with the MR9, I’ve only had it choke once in my nearly three years of ownership. It failed to extract a steel-cased round. Steel ammo is cheap ammo, and all it took was a tap, rack, bang to fix. This type of reliability adds to the fact that this is a topo ten 9mm handgun. Other than that, it has been an absolute champ in the reliability department. It ate steel ammo every additional time I used it, as well as typical brass cased Winchester White box.
The gun goes and goes and goes. It’s not picky about being clean or well lubed. It seems to run without issue, and it keeps going even when it’s filthy dirty. After a twelve-person concealed carry class, this thing is often filthy, yet it continues to shoot without choking. While I believe weapon maintenance is important, it’s nice to know your weapon isn’t picky.
Grips and Complaints
As I mentioned, the serrations are small, shallow, and hard to engage. The other downside is the fact there is no way to attach a red dot optic. The presence of a decocker button makes that impossible. Those are my main and only complaints regarding just the gun. It does use P99 magazines, so those are somewhat common. The only other downside is a lack of holsters. I use the Phalanx Defense Stealth Operator, and it fits the MR9 perfectly. The Omnivore from Blackhawk is a great light bearing option too.
The Magnum Research MR9 is an excellent combination of German and American engineering and design. They started with the fantastic P99 pistol and pushed it forward. They made it more modular, more comfortable to handle and even better looking. The MR9 is a formidable weapon, and it’s unexpected from a company known for its big-bore pistols and revolvers. The MR9 is a unique weapon that’s not afraid to stray from the current crop of single-stack 9mms.