Battle of the 1911’s: TRP vs. Emissary

By Dan Abraham
Posted in #Guns
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Battle of the 1911’s: TRP vs. Emissary

April 17th, 2023

7:30 runtime

The Springfield Armory 1911 TRP (Tactical Response Pistol) has been in production for a very long time. It’s a crisp and clean 1911 that many shooters feel is a custom-grade machine that shoots like a dream. The 1911 TRP achieves accuracy that makes an average shooter feel like a professional.

trp vs emissary 1911
Springfield Armory offers many variations of the classic 1911 design. Here are the TRP (left) and the Emissary (right) that the author is comparing.

In 2021, Springfield introduced the 1911 Emissary. The 1911 Emissary took modern features on a 1911 pistol to a whole new level. Everything from the look of the pistol to the sights to the build construction gave shooters a very unique 1911.

For me, the 1911 Emissary shoots as accurately as the 1911 TRP. So basically, we have an older and incredibly refined 1911 Tactical Response Pistol and a beautiful newer 1911 Emissary with modern features to choose from. How about we break down and compare these two 1911 pistols? 

Get a Grip

The Springfield 1911 TRP has “grippy” 20-line-per inch checkering on the frontstrap. The 1911 Emissary’s grip is like nothing I have seen before. It uses thin G-10 grips with “grenade pattern” checkering that matches the texturing on the frontstrap and the flat mainspring housing.

springfield trp vs emissary 1911
Springfield Armory gave the Emissary a sleek, modern look complete with updated combat sights, accessory rail and great grips.

Each of these offer a solid grip purchase however, if I had to choose one, I personally am going with the consistent grip texture on the 1911 Emissary.

Feeding the Beasts

Both the TRP and Emissary ship with two .45 ACP magazines. The 1911 TRP magazines are built strong and carry seven rounds. The 1911 Emissary ships with two eight-round MecGar magazines. Of course, I have to choose the additional round magazines the Emissary offers.

springfield trp 1911 vs emissary
With a traditional look, the TRP is a fantastic handgun with classic lines and feel.

There is a twist, however. The 1911 TRP has, what Springfield Armory calls, a blended magwell. This is an extended and flared magwell that aids in magazine insertion. The “blend” also appears with the magazine baseplate and the base of the magwell creating a one-piece-looking design.

I think it looks super cool, therefore I am giving the nod to the TRP for the “blended” feature.


When discussing 1911 triggers, many shooters get hung up on the trigger pull poundage, so let’s get this out of the way right now. Both the TRP and Emissary have trigger weights that break at 4.25 lbs.

Now, let’s get to the differences. The 1911 TRP has a traditional aluminum trigger that is standard with many Springfield 1911 pistols. Shooters love the crisp pull and short trigger reset. The engineers at Springfield created a full-body flat trigger on the Emissary. We are living in the days of a “flat trigger” nation, and shooters dig ’em.

Being that the Emissary is a “modern-featured” 1911, it stands to reason it uses a modern flat-faced trigger. Both perform well; however, I am choosing the Emissary for that flat-face trigger.

Slide on Over

The slide and frame on the 1911 TRP are Cerakoted black with a slight shine. It also has an ambidextrous thumb safety that suits left-handed shooters quite well. “Tactical” is engraved on the frame and “TRP ” is engraved on the rear of the slide above the thumb safety. It uses traditional angle cut slide serrations on the front and rear of the slide. Nice.

slide differences
The differences between the two 1911 pistols are apparent when comparing the slides. They have different finishes and slide shapes.

The modern Emissary slide is a work of art. The side of the slide is a high-gloss shiny black and the top strap is matte black. Springfield Armory calls the wide cut forward serrations and build of the slide “Tri-Top.” The overall look of the Emissary slide is beautifully elegant.

Having said that, my traditional side is choosing the slide on the TRP. I love the consistent heavy black Cerakote.

I See You

The 1911 Tactical Response Pistol is equipped with three-dot tritium night sights. The three dots are rather small; however, they stand out well in low-light conditions.

sight differences
Springfield equipped the author’s TRP with three-dot night sights while the Emissary is fitted with the U-Dot sights.

Keeping with the modern features on the 1911 Emissary, Springfield Armory reached into the Hellcat/XD-M Elite playbook and added the same sight picture. It features a large tritium front sight with a white luminescent ring surrounding the tritium. The rear sight has a bright “U” creating a U-Dot system.

The 1911 Emissary sight picture is familiar to me due to my experience with the Hellcat and XD-M Elite models. It points so naturally with shots on target. Therefore, I am going with the sights on the Emissary because they are a modern feature that helps me shoot more accurately.

Internal Build

Both the 1911 TRP and Emissary have 5” match grade barrels. However, the 1911 Emissary is available with shorter barrels. The Emissary uses a bushingless bull barrel.

grip differences
The grenade pattern texture used on the G10 grips of the Emissary (front) is visually distinctive and very functional. It helps to lock the pistol in the hand.

The 1911 TRP has a more traditional barrel system, However, there’s a catch. The 1911 TRP has a two-piece, full-length guide rod. The 1911 Emissary has a one-piece, full-length guide. The main difference here is the disassembly process. Due to the somewhat complexity of the differences, I am going to refer you to the attached video that will explain the disassembly process better than I can write in words.

Both systems work well for each 1911 pistol, but this one is a draw. I am choosing the bull barrel Emissary because it offers reduced recoil when shooting. I am choosing the 1911 TRP due to the simplicity of the disassembly process.


The 1911 Emissary’s MSRP is $1,378. With a quick search, the Emissary can be purchased between $1,100-$1,200. The 1911 TRP’s MSRP is $1,732. The street price falls between $1,300-$1,400.

comparing the 1911 pistols
Both the TRP and the Emissary are excellent pistols. Choosing one over the other will come down to your specific needs and wants.

If you have experience with the Springfield Armory line of 1911’s, then you understand that they all fire incredibly accurately and are built with match grade components. Basically, you cannot make a poor decision when going with a Springfield 1911.

The 1911 TRP and 1911 Emissary are first-class 1911 pistols. They are both loaded with features that make range time a pleasurable experience. In the video, I mentioned there is not a great shooting difference and I stand by that. Both perform exactly as Springfield Armory intended them to. I appreciate the craftsmanship and detail they each offer.

Having said that, if I had to choose only one, as hard as that would be, I would choose the 1911 Tactical Response Pistol. I love the 1911 Emissary and the modern features it offers. However, the traditional side of me goes with the 1911 TRP.

I am wondering, which of these two fine 1911 pistols would you choose? Why don’t you head over to The Armory Life Forum to let us know your choice?

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

Dan Abraham

Dan Abraham

Dan "TheFireArmGuy" Abraham is a gun enthusiast, collector and 2A advocate. Sending a strong 2A message and showcasing firearms is a passion for him. He enjoys featuring firearms that suit the "working man." Dan believes firearm ownership is an essential American value. Understanding that firearms are not a "one size fits all," Dan offers gun reviews that help the reader choose the best fit for them. Within his reviews, the reader will observe the gun's features, specifications, shooting impressions and best applications. He attempts to be informative, concise with "no fluff" and on point.

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