Ayoob: Is the Prodigy Too Big for CCW, or Just Right?
August 17th, 2023
5 minute read
I have spent a good amount of time with the 1911 DS Prodigy, utilizing it in several different roles. For the purposes of this piece, I decided to consider its adaptability to concealed carry.
There are concealment pistols, and concealable pistols. The former were designed to be small and to hide discreetly from public view. The second are service-size pistols of the type originally intended for carry in open holsters.
They can be concealed with carefully selected holsters and cover garments, but it takes a bit more work on the part of the wearer, who in turn is rewarded with better ergonomics, more velocity and more easily achieved accuracy with longer barrels, and more ammunition in the roomier magazines within larger grip-frames.
[Be sure to watch our 10,000 Round Prodigy Torture Test.]
The Prodigy is a relatively big 1911-pattern pistol with an even larger grip. Simply put, it has a big butt, and the butt is a major factor in concealment. At the front of the gun we have square edges, both at the muzzle and along the dust cover, which is designed with integral rails to hold white light or light/laser attachments. Moreover, the stippled grip surface, though a huge advantage when the gun is in hand, can catch on fabric and lift the garment to reveal the pistol when it is carried concealed.
You conceal the Prodigy basically the way you would any other large pistol. Make sure the concealing garment has enough drape to cover its bulk. The smoother the inside surface of the fabric of the concealing garment, the less likely the stippled grip will catch it and cause the pistol to become visible.
The tighter the holster holds the handgun to the body, the less it’s going to bulge. And inside the waistband carry will maximize concealment, not only holding everything in tighter but allowing the pants to break up the outline of the holstered weapon. In addition, the cover garment can ride all the way up to the bottom edge of the belt where the inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster’s belt loops are and still not reveal the gun’s presence.
In the case of the Prodigy, the butt circumference is exaggerated. Its additional flare is designed to speed up reloads and facilitates that very well, but it also requires a little more attention to concealment. Be thinking in terms of a cover garment about one size larger through the torso than you might normally wear if you weren’t carrying a gun.
The Prodigy comes with 17- and 20-round magazines. (26-round magazines are also available from the Springfield Armory webstore.) Obviously, the 17-rounder is the one you want in the gun to reduce protrusion. Not only that, but even in open carry the longer magazine could be troublesome with a hip-holstered gun when you sit down, forcing you to push that side of your hip forward in the seat, which can lead to short-term discomfort and long-term back problems.
Frankly, I found the shorter 17-round magazine both more comfortable and more concealable in the spare mag pouch as well. During the test, I saved the longer magazines for swapping into the Prodigy for shooting on the range, and for “bedside home companion” security.
My friend Sam Young carries a big Springfield 9mm daily, which happens to be the XD-M with long butt to hold a 19-round magazine, and equipped with a 5.25” barrel. His holster choice is strong-side hip with an El Paso IWB leather rig. He finds it eminently comfortable because, like all of us who regularly carry inside the waistband, he has learned to buy pants 2″ larger than normal at the waist.
My choices for the concealed carry part of the Prodigy test were a similar leather IWB from Elmer MacEvoy at Leather Arsenal, and for outside the waistband, a Kydex outside-the-waistband (OWB) by Bullseye. The latter had only slightly more “bulk and bulge” than a leather Mitch Rosen belt scabbard with a standard configuration full size 1911 .45. Both offered a very quick draw. The IWB hid the pistol easily under a sport coat or suitcoat.
For the spare magazine carry, I chose a Pitbull expandable carrier which proved surprisingly concealable and very comfortable. Of course, it could hold a longer mag if needed, but I found the 17-round to be enough and more comfortable and concealable. A second 17-rounder if needed fit comfortably and discreetly in the left side cell phone pocket of my 5.11 cargo pants, alongside a Streamlight Wedge flashlight.
Body size and shape are definite factors in concealed carry. Being closer to the “before” picture in the Charles Atlas Bodybuilding ads than the “after” picture, yours truly is not the ideal person to carry the Prodigy discreetly concealed in every environment. It’s better suited to a larger person, but my testing proved it’s not at all impossible for someone my size.
Reliability is a non-negotiable baseline in the selection of defensive firearms. In hundreds of rounds through many hands, some under pressure in national-level competition, the test Prodigy fed and cycled 100%. I had only two minor problems with it. On one occasion, I found that my forearm had apparently hit the outboard lever of the ambi thumb safety and wiped it down into the “fire” position while it was in the IWB holster. This is an “ambi thing” and not a Springfield thing; I personally prefer a lower profile on an outboard ambi lever for this reason. Also, the set screw holding the rear sight in place fell out, sidelining the pistol in a gun bag until I could get a replacement, which Springfield Armory shipped to me immediately in keeping with their usually excellent customer service.
I completed the test very happy with the Prodigy, which I consider ideally suited to home defense use with light or light/laser mounted and the long magazine in place. I carried it with Winchester 127-gr. +P+ Ranger hollow points, which run at 1,250 foot-seconds from a 4.0” barrel and a bit hotter from the 5.0” tube of this particular Prodigy. That’s equivalent to .357 Magnum out of a snubby revolver, and takes any worry out of carrying a 9mm instead of a .45, for those concerned about that. When Springfield Armory wants this gun back, they’ll be getting a check instead of a pistol.
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