There are products that define industries, setting the bar that inspires designs for generations. There are also designers that are a cut above the rest, creating products that stand the test of time. John Moses Browning and his 1911 are timeless examples of both. His 1911 set the bar of quality, innovation and accuracy. No pistol can go toe-to-toe with the 1911’s history and track record of service, and its short recoil method of operation is the inspiration for nearly every pistol design manufactured today.
If the single-stack 1911 has one “flaw” in today’s world of firearms design, it’s the magazine capacity of the pistol. Sure, you can make the argument that you prefer .45 ACP over 9mm, but even 9mm variants are capped at nine or 10 rounds in the magazine. For this reason, the polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol market has grown leaps and bounds over the past two decades.
Standard magazine capacities from 15 all the way up to 20 rounds or even more are commonplace in these lightweight, capable firearms. But if you’ve ever shot a nice 1911, you know that even the finest striker-fired pistol leaves something to be desired. That desire is John Browning’s sweet, crisp single-action trigger.
The Best of Both Worlds?
You may be asking what seems like the obvious question. Why can’t I have a 1911 with the same capacity of all these fancy polymer-framed guns? Well, Springfield Armory has answered that question in the form of the 1911 DS Prodigy pistol. The maker of some of the finest 1911 pistols on the market has done it yet again with their solution to the capacity concern some have with the 1911 in the 1911 DS Prodigy — with the “DS” standing for “double-stack.”
Available in both a 4.25” and a 5” model, the Prodigy is everything you have come to expect from Springfield Armory. It is reliable, repeatable, accurate, feature-rich, and offered at a price point that will definitely catch your attention. But more on that latter point in a moment.
The Prodigy is built around a double-stack 9mm magazine, housed within a polymer grip module that mounts directly to the pistol’s forged steel receiver. The design offers capacities of 17+1 in a flush-fitting magazine, and 20+1 in an extended magazine — both included with the pistol, by the way. An optional 26-round magazine is also offered.
You may be wondering how a 1911 can accept a double-stack magazine in such a slim pistol. That is achieved by the polymer grip module that keeps the width slim enough for a comfortable grip while being able to accept the wider, thicker magazine size.
A Next Generation
As noted earlier, the Prodigy combines the best of what makes the 1911 great along with more modern features today’s shooters desire. If you know how to run a 1911, you’ll be right at home with the 1911 DS Prodigy. From the extended beavertail grip safety to the ambidextrous safety, all the controls are exactly where you’d expect them to be. Want to fit it out with a weaponlight? Then check out the strip of Picatinny rail on the steel receiver.
A truly cutting-edge enhancement to the Prodigy is optics-ready nature of the forged steel slide. This plate-based system, dubbed AOS (which stands for “Agency Optic System”), was developed in collaboration with Agency Arms specifically for the 1911 DS. The plates, machined from billet 17-4 steel, were designed to allow shooters to attach today’s most popular optics to the pistol. All the plates, including the included cover plate, feature an integral rear sight.
The front fiber-optic sight and rear u-notch sight are raised to allow for visible iron sights through a mounted optic. Currently, the pistol ships with a cover plate and a plate designed to accept the HEX Dragonfly red dot, with additional plates for other optics available from the Springfield Armory Store.
A Touch Point
One of the most sought-after features on the 1911 design is the trigger. Truly, the 1911 trigger has been the gold standard for more than a century. So, that is a standard to which the Prodigy had to adhere. To my mind, the Prodigy trigger is the definition of precision. It feels solid with very little play, the break is quick, sharp and satisfying, and the return is super short. This ensures not only accurate initial shots, but also quick and accurate follow-up shots. The range at which you can achieve accurate shot placement with the Prodigy will surprise even the most seasoned shooters.
Using their track record of precision-crafted, unbreakable 1911s, Springfield Armory again uses the forging process to create the most rugged and dependable slide, receiver and barrels for the Prodigy. All three are made from forged steel, while the grip module is made from high-impact polymer with a wraparound treatment of Adaptive Grip Texture (made popular on the Hellcat series of pistols). The grip texture feels as if it grips your skin the tighter you grip the pistol, ensuring a positive and tactile grip in any condition. While the barrel is stainless steel, the slide and receiver feature a rugged and attractive black Cerakote finish.
Providing exceptional accuracy and long life to the Prodigy is the match-grade bushingless bull barrel. Offered in both the 4.25” and 5” models, you will be stunned at the return to zero after your first shot, enabling extreme accuracy with quick follow-up shots. The recoil impulse is light as the weight of the pistol and the craftsmanship of parts fitment make the slide feel like it’s on ball bearings. After your first shot, you will feel like shooting the Prodigy is just plain cheating.
The Prodigy gets some added style points for the skeletonized hammer and forward slide serrations. The Prodigy just looks like it’s ready for action. Once outfitted with and optic and weaponlight, you just can’t help but stare at the beautiful pistol. There truly is nothing like the look of a well done 1911, and the Prodigy brings a lot to the table.
Here are the specs on the new Springfield Prodigy pistols:
|1911 DS 4.25″ Prodigy AOS||1911 DS 5″ Prodigy AOS|
|Magazine Capacity||17+1, 20+1 (one of each included)||17+1, 20+1 (one of each included)|
|Weight||32.5 oz.||33.0 oz.|
|Sights||Fiber optic front, serrated rear||Fiber optic front, serrated rear|
|Grips||Integral polymer||Integral polymer|
|Finish||Black Cerakote||Black Cerakote|
|MSRP||$1,499; $1,699 with HEX Dragonfly||$1,499; $1,699 with HEX Dragonfly|
Getting my hands on these pistols was an absolute dream come true. Being that Springfield produces some of the most prestigious and dependable 1911s on the market, I figured it was only a matter of time before they offered a double-stack model. But even my imagination couldn’t prepare me for how these pistols felt in my hands. Everything feels extremely tight and smooth, and racking the slide feels like water running over glass. The trigger is everything you would expect from a high-end 1911; it is tactile, tight and satisfying.
I immediately installed red dots optics, weaponlights and the 20-round extended magazines into the pistols. Yea, definitely smitten with these Prodigy pistols. On the 4.25” Prodigy, I attached an EOTech EFLX red dot, which uses the DPP footprint, for the weapon light I used a Surefire X300. On the 5” Prodigy, I attached a Trijicon RMR, and for the weaponlight I also used a Surefire X300. I wanted the pistols to feel very familiar to be able to discern between the two slide lengths without as many variables.
For the holsters, I used Tier 1 Concealed OWB Optio and Centurion holsters. I attached them via QLS to a True North Concepts drop leg modular mount. I felt like this was a perfect setup to accompany the Prodigy.
On the range, I was like a kid on his 16th birthday getting keys to a new car. The Prodigy just feels exceptional in your hands, and it begs to go fast. If you’re not smiling after your first shots, you may not have a pulse. The return to zero after your first shot is phenomenal, and hammer pairs are made easy and fun with the Prodigy. After a full day and hundreds of rounds, I couldn’t tell which pistol I preferred. The 5” seemed to be a bit smoother and had less muzzle rise, while the 4.25” was a bit lighter and seemed to put me back on target quicker with the shorter slide.
I loved the 20-round magazines and preferred them for these pistols. The value of staying downrange longer, getting more time on the pistol, and the ease of grabbing a magazine for a reload made these mags perfect for me. They also just make the gun look fantastic. Throughout the day I didn’t experience any malfunctions with the magazines or the pistols. They ran flawlessly, even with the heat capping out at 116° F that day and me dropping the magazines in the rocks and dirt on every reload.
I mostly shoot polymer-framed, striker-fired guns, which generally do not have any manual safeties and are very ergonomic for all hand sizes. I was curious if shooting the Prodigy would present any challenges since the manual of arms was different from most of my training. Actuating the ambidextrous frame-mounted safety was intuitive and easy to remember. Your thumb can hinge the safety down as you draw, and flip it back up as you disengage or re-holster. I have medium-sized hands, so using my thumb for the slide lock was a bit of a reach. Because of that, I just used the over-the-top slingshot method to put the slide back into battery after a reload. Beyond those two things, everything felt just like any other pistol I own, only better and more enjoyable to shoot.
If you’ve ever been intrigued by the double-stack 1911 design, now is your chance to get your hands on one made by the folks who know how to make a quality 1911. Oh, and you might be surprised at the price, as well. Both of the 1911 DS Prodigy pistols have an MSRP of just $1,499.00, or $1,699 packaged with a HEX Dragonfly red dot optic. If you ask me, the Prodigy will make you want to sell all your other pistols in order to buy more ammo to shoot it!
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