Springfield Armory EMP

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Springfield Armory EMP

Postby Nathan » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:23 am


Get a good look at a whole new class of pistol -- the short-action 1911. The new Springfield Armory 9mm Enhanced Micro Pistol (EMP) is the first production 1911 made from the ground up to shoot short cartridges like 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 GAP. The result? The smallest, most concealable 1911 you can buy. - [url="http://www.springfield-armory.com/assets/pdf/1111SPRINGFIELD_Book_armory_PI9209LP.pdf"]SOURCE[/url]


As a lifelong enthusiast of 1911s I have developed the belief that sub-4" 1911 variants aren't reliable enough to serve as primary carry weapons. While some may disagree with that statement, I find that one failure in five hundred is unacceptable in primary carry weapons. This in mind I had no intention of ever purchasing another (sub-4").

That changed when I happened by this little guy sitting on the shelf at one of my local gun dealers. I made the fatal mistake of asking to hold it, and from that point I had to bring it home. The $1,200 seemed a bit steep to me, but ultimately my desire to own this weapon overwhelmed my sense of fiscal responsiblity.



I've read that this sub-4" 1911 is infact reliable enough to serve as a primary carry weapon because it isnt simply a 1911 with a shorter barrel; it is actually a shrunken 1911 style pistol (minus the bushing barrel, as with all sub-4.25" 1911s). Ultimately the truth lies in performance; no other aspect of defensive weaponry is as important as reliability.

EMP Failure Video[/url]

The first trip to the range was an absolute failure. Click the video image above to see it for yourself. It was a miserable performance, and I felt pretty angry for having spent $1,200 on a weapon that wouldn't function. When it worked, it worked amazingly well. The problem however, was that it wouldn't work with any sense of consistancy. The weapon failed to feed as often as it fed, and there were many instances of failures to ignite.

I shipped the weapon to Springfield Armory on 5/18/09 with a copy of the above video. I asked Springfield (assuming they could make the weapon function reliably with 147 grain JHPs) to send it over to the custom shop to have the front strap checkered prior to shipping it back. The folks at Springfield were great to deal with. They took time to answer all my questions and explain everything to me from the nature of my failures to the proper fix. They told me to expect my weapon back in 6-8 weeks.

CLICK HERE for Springfield invoice[/url]



Springfield called June 15th (just less than four weeks from the date of return) to tell me they were shipping my weapon back the following day. I was out of town and asked that they instead ship the weapon on the 18th so that I would be there to receive it on the 19th. In the meantime I also ordered at set of [url="http://davidsonknives.com/grips/grips.htm"]G10 "Monkey Grips"[/url] that are also shown in the above pictures. Thanks to Larry Davidson for such excellent service on the grips. I ordered them at standard 1911 thickness (much thicker than the OEM EMP Cocobolo grips) on a Monday and had them in hand that Friday. Larry is a true craftsman and I plan to order more of his grips for my other 1911s.

Having the front strap checkered was one of the best decisions I have made. Although the cost of checkering seemed high to me ($210 total), the quality made it worth every penny. The checkering in addition to the Monkey Grips gives this weapon a very unique and positive feel. I cannot express how great this weapon now feels in my hand.

EMP Shooting Video[/url] (old and new video)

Now that I have $1,500 into this weapon, I expected to be absolutely thrilled by its range performance. I loaded up 300 rounds of WWB FMJ, 50 rounds of Federal HST 147 grain 9mm, 50 rounds of Federal HST 147 grain 9mm +P, 50 rounds of WWB 147 grain JHP, 50 rounds of 147 grain SXT +P, 20 rounds of corbon 115 +P, 20 rounds of corbon 125 grain +P, and headed to the range.

I could publish a lengthy video of the range session, but it wouldn't differ from the short clip above and it would surely bore you. The weapon functioned flawlessly with every load. I had no failures of any kind, and the additional control from the checkering and the Monkey Grips made me shoot pretty dang good too. [:)]

[size=4]What I Like:[/size=4]

Image It is essentially a shrunken 1911! ...who doesn't love a 1911? [:D]

Image Ergonomics: It's a 1911!

Image Trigger: Being a mid-grade 1911 variant, the EMP has a decent 1911 trigger.

Image Accuracy: Although I didn't exceed common pistol defensive combat distances of seven yards, I was notably impressed at how well this very tiny pistol grouped.

Image Concealability: This weapon will disappear just about anywhere.

[size=4]What I Don't Like:[/size=4]

Image Cost: $1200 is ridiculously expensive!

Image Capacity: In this modern age of polymer wonder-guns, I have grown used to having 15 rounds per magazine.

Image Manual Safety: For my own reasons ([url="http://concealedcarryforum.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=8442"]CLICK HERE[/url]) I don't like manual safeties on carry weapons.

Image Alloy Frame: As an active shooter I prefer either a plastic frame or an all steel frame. The steel frame can withstand the punishment of +P loads because its malleable and simply stronger than the alloy, and plastic can withstand the punishment of +P loads because it flexes with the recoil. Although alloy frames have proven themselves durable for most gun owners, I shoot a minimum of 1000 rounds per month and for this kind of duty I don't trust aluminum alloys.

[size=4]How does it compare?[/size=4]

Although difficult to find another weapon that is truly comparable to this little 1911, for the sake of comparison I will use both a Glock 19 and an HK P7.


HK P7, EMP, Glock 19


HK P7 next to the EMP


Glock 19 next to the EMP


Just an irrelevant family photo showing some of his bigger brothers, all Springfields.

EMP - [:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]
P7 - [:)][:)][:)][:)]
G19 - [B)]

EMP [:)][:)][:)][:)]
P7 [:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]
G19 [:)][:)][:)][:)]

EMP [:)][:)][:)] (Consider my bias created by initial failures.)
P7 [:)][:)][:)][:)]
G19 [:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]

EMP [:)][:)][:)][:)]
P7 [:)][:)][:)][:)]
G19 [:)][:)][:)][:)]

EMP [:)][:)][:)]
P7 [:)][:)]
G19 [:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]

EMP [B)]
P7 [:)][:)][:)]
G19 [:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]

EMP [:D][:D][:D][:D][:D] (This is one sexy little pistol!)
P7 [:)][:)][:)][:)]
G19 [B)] (Ugly little bastard, but true beauty lies in proper function anyway.)


Now that I've gotten over my frustration from the initial failures as well as my elation for its proper function and excellent feel, I've had time to carefully and rationally consider both the positive and negative aspects of this beautiful little 1911. Cost alone will prevent most from buying the EMP, but if you conclude that you want a very small 1911 style pistol I cannot imagine it getting much sweeter. Checkering the front strap and adding the G10 Monkey Grips gave this EMP everything it needed to feel perfect in my hand. That it feels absolutely perfect and performed flawlessly makes this weapon an excellent addition to my carry gun stable.

Nathan in Image

NRA Certified Instructor in Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protection Outside the Home.

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