There is just nothing like a 1911. This is true from the angles of the grip to the feel of that safety when it’s disengaged. And when you pull that trigger, you understand why so many people talk about the 1911 design.
But how might you update a design that is more than a century old, while still retaining the benefits of the original design? What might a modern shooter and CCW user want in their 1911? Combining modern manufacturing techniques with the performance of today’s 9mm ammo, Springfield Armory had given us the Ronin EMP in a 3” ultra-carriable configuration.
Features You Want and Need
When Springfield set out to make the EMP series, they did not just take standard a 1911 and stick in the 9mm cartridge. The Ronin EMP is re-designed around the 9mm cartridge to enhance and improve the reliability and performance of the 1911 platform for use with modern 9mm ammunition. It is also scaled down from the .45 ACP-sized gun to one designed around the 9mm round.
[Don’t miss Massad Ayoob’s article Is There a 9mm 1911 Problem?]
With 11 proprietary parts, from a specifically designed frame to the firing pin and much in between, Springfield Armory produced an ultra-concealable 1911 with the utmost reliability and performance. When others may just rechamber a barrel retune the springs and stick in a 9mm magazine, Springfield set out to not necessarily re-design the 1911 as a whole but to specifically tailor it to the modern high-performance 9mm ammunition available today.
The Ronin EMP boasts a 3” forged bull barrel that provides match-grade performance, tight lock-up and a beautifully finished look at the muzzle end. A lightweight forged aluminum frame gives you the strength you want, while providing a lighter package to carry around all day. And the classic looks of the 1911 are present with the Ronin EMP with its wood grips, blued slide and silver-Cerakoted frame.
Small Pistol, Big Performance
On the range, the 3” Ronin EMP feels bigger than it is. With the dual captive recoil spring and a re-designed grip radius, the recoil is easily managed to allow fast follow-up shots and extreme accuracy. The 9-round stainless steel magazines will not only give you the capacity you can be comfortable with, but the lifetime of service you would expect from such a durable and rust-resistant material.
The Tactical Rack sights integrated into the pistol design give you an intuitive sight picture in the way of a white dot rear and fiber optic front. On the range, these sights are immediately identifiable, with the high-visibility front sight providing clear sight alignment and a solid sight picture.
When fast follow-up shots are needed, the crisp feel on break and reset of the Ronin EMP trigger is precisely what you would expect from a 1911. The skeletonized trigger design, with its linear grooves on the touch surface, provides a positive tactile engagement and a solid feel with each trigger pull.
I tested a variety of ammunition in the Ronin EMP 3”, from basic PMC 115-gr 9mm to the following self-defense loads: Hornady American Gunner 125-gr. +P XTP hollow point, Atlanta Arms 115-gr. JHP, and Ammo Inc. 124-gr. JHP.
All of this ammunition ran flawlessly through the match-grade barrel. It gave impressive accuracy with the high-performance ammunition performing best — not only in accuracy but in chronograph results as well. When firing the +P ammunition, the newly designed elements of the dual recoil spring and the re-designed grip radius shone through. The recoil felt consistent, and controllable and gave less muzzle rise than I would expect from a 3” design.
|PMC 115-grain FMJ||1,110 fps||1 3/4″|
|Atlanta Arms 124-grain JHP||1,069 fps||1 3/8″|
|Hornady American Gunner 124-grain XTP +P||1,161 fps||1 1/16″|
|Ammo Inc 124-grain JHP||1,011 fps||1 1/4″|
As you can see from the chronograph results above, not only did the 3” bull barrel hold its own on velocity, but the match-grade performance of the barrel was very noticeable. Even though these shots were all fired from a supported position, nearing a 1” group at 15 yards with a 3” barrel is something we can all be happy with. And although the self-defense ammo did perform better overall, the PMC Bronze held its own, bringing in an average of 1,110 feet per second velocity and a 1¾” group size.
[Be sure to also read Jeremy Tremp’s Ronin EMP Review.]
The Final Word
I found the pistol to be extremely comfortable in the hand. The wooden grips not only give that 1911 finished look, but the dual-texture design provides grip and comfort. The checkering on the backstrap of the mainspring housing gives an additional positive feeling of control with just enough grip to be aggressive yet not abrasive.
The smaller radius of the newly designed frame not only makes it easy to conceal the Ronin EMP 3”, but allows you to effortlessly manipulate the controls, from the safety to the slide release. All of the controls operated smoothly with just the right amount of resistance to give confidence in the pistol’s operation.
Concealment is just made easy with the design of the Ronin EMP. The 3” barrel and the smaller overall profile make it the perfect overall 1911 carry pistol for any occasion in my opinion.
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