Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25″ 1911 Review

By Will Dabbs, MD
Posted in #Guns
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Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25″ 1911 Review

February 8th, 2024

8 minute read

The 4.25” Garrison is the latest iteration of Springfield Armory’s rarefied line of 1911 pistols. Offering old school design and superlative workmanship along with a world-class feature set and reasonable price, the Garrison occupies a unique niche among the wares at your favorite gun emporium.

In this photo, we see the Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25-inch 1911 semi-automatic pistol. This is the handgun that is the subject of this review by gunwriter Dr. Will Dabbs.
The new Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25″ pistols are the newest addition to the Springfield Armory line of 1911 pistols.

The latest 4.25” version offers all that classic Garrison sweetness in a handier, more-concealable package.

Hard-Core History

Mankind came from the factory with an irresistible drive to create. It’s buried someplace deep in our DNA. One person’s brilliant idea becomes the foundation for the next great advance in science or engineering. In so doing, technology invariably builds on itself. This is the reason you are likely reading this hallowed tome in climate-controlled comfort. Otherwise you might still be squatting in a cave someplace pondering the best way to use a jagged rock to flay an opossum for dinner.

In this image, we see two Springfield Garrison 4.25 inch pistols — one in a blued finish and one in a stainless finish. The guns are chambered in both 9mm and .45 ACP.
The Springfield Armory 4.25″ Garrison 1911 pistols (shown in stainless and blue) are both attractive and functional, and at a reasonable price.

A cursory historical review of the Information Age demonstrates countless examples wherein some gifted inventor devised a machine that serendipitously changed the world. This is the human way. Driven by the unstoppable engine that is capitalism, this profoundly powerful drive oftentimes charges forward without a great deal of restraint. Think hydrogen bombs or pressurized cheese in a can. With others, however, one simply cannot help but revel in what we have accomplished — and 1911 was a particularly good year for such stuff.

Setting the Stage

On January 26,1911, Glenn Curtiss flew the first amphibian float plane. His idea to meld a boat with an airplane was simply inspired. This is the sole reason we humans have physically explored some of the least accessible portions of this big blue playground we call Earth.

In this digital image, we see the Springfield Armory 1911 Garrison 4.25-inch pistol chambered in .45 ACP. The .45 ACP, also known as .45 Auto, .45 Automatic, or 11.43×23mm is a rimless straight-walled handgun cartridge designed by John Moses Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic pistol.
The new Springfield Armory 1911 Garrison 4.25″ pistols are available in both 9mm and .45 ACP.

That same year, James Dole hired Henry Ginaca to craft a device that would automate the processing of pineapples. Prior to that time, pineapples were laboriously cut by hand. In addition to being time-consuming, there was a also great deal of wastage. Afterwards, thanks to the Ginaca Pineapple Processing Machine, the Dole Packaged Foods Company could sell Hawaiian pineapples to the entire planet.

Charles Franklin Kettering was one of the most prolific inventors in human history, going to his grave with 186 patents. Kettering developed the use of Freon as an industrial refrigerant, perfected colored paints for automobiles and invented the first air-to-air missile. The philanthropic foundation that bears his name has played an active part in crafting public policy since 1927.

On February 17, 1911, Charles Kettering installed the first electric starter motor on an automobile engine. Prior to that day if you wanted to crank a car you had to walk around to the front and spin a lever. Nowadays, you can start the nicer sort from inside your office via a button on your remote. Kettering once opined, “The world hates change, but it is the only thing that has brought progress.”

In this picture, the author is shown testing the Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25" M1911 pistol. This one is chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum. The 9×19mm Parabellum is a rimless, tapered firearms cartridge.
The Springfield Armory 4.25″ Garrison 1911 pistol carries easily, shoots straight and hits hard.

So, why all this arcane prattling about such antiquated contrivances? Because, unlike the previous examples, there was one invention introduced in 1911 that has soldiered on minimally unchanged ever since. While the rest of the world evolved through spaceflight to cell phones, John Moses Browning’s inimitable 1911 pistol has reliably retained its relevance despite the passage of time.

The Phenomenon

John Browning introduced his 1911 pistol three years before the outset of World War I. A lot has happened since then. Cutting-edge handguns like the Springfield Armory Echelon now pack double columns of ammunition in a rugged, reliable, accurate package handy enough to carry all day. The polymer frame weighs just about nothing, and the gun is infinitely customizable. However, there is just something primal about the way a 1911 pistol interfaces with the human form. The single-stack magazine supports a trim architecture that fits my hand like it was built to be there. Despite more than a century of mechanical evolution, the basic 1911 design remains competitive even today.

In this photograph, we see a blonde woman holding a Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25" semi-automatic handgun. She is wearing a cowboy hat and riding chaps over her blue jeans.
The 1911 pistol has a proven track record for capable performance. The Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25″ pistol will certainly carry on that tradition.

Part of that is indeed nostalgia. Ours is a wealthy society, the richest in all of human history. As a result, we enjoy the luxury of investing our resources in the finer things. Whether that is a bespoke timepiece, a classic automobile meticulously restored, or a $12,000 William Fioravanti power suit, the toys do indeed make the man.

In the timeless 1911 pistol we find a curious melding of form, refinement, style and function. This unique little machine entertains you on the range, makes a powerful fashion statement, and helps keep you alive when out where the wild things roam. Nothing else in the vast pantheon of human contrivances really does all that. The ultimate iteration of that apparently perfect machine is the Springfield Armory Garrison.

Pertinent Particulars

Just like suits, cars, and watches, there is a definite spectrum. The Springfield Armory Garrison is the refined 1911 pistol for the common man. It has style, class, and function that remains within financial reach of the average joe with a mortgage and an actual life. I have shot a lot of 1911 pistols, and I do love this one.

In this image, the author shows us a Springfield Armory Garrison 1911 pistol used in ammo testing. The M1911 pistol is a single-action, recoil-operated, semi-automatic pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. The pistol's formal U.S. military designation as of 1940 was Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911 for the original model adopted in March 1911, and Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911A1 for the improved M1911A1 model which entered service in 1926.
These Springfield Armory 4.25″ Garrison 1911 pistols shot extremely well no matter what ammo the author fed them.

The standard Garrison has been out for a while. Available in either 9mm or .45 ACP in both blued and stainless finishes, the Garrison offers a superlative feature set at a reasonable price. Forged steel construction makes for a gun that your children’s grandchildren will still be shooting, while low-profile no-snag three-dot combat sights keep this delightfully straight-shooting gun shooting straight. Also, it features a traditional barrel bushing system for simple and easy takedown — as well as classic good looks at the muzzle.

[Don’t miss Dr. Will Dabb’s explanation of cast vs. forged steel.]

In this picture, the Springfield Armory Garrison 1911 4.25" is shown in both finishes and calibers. These guns use forged steel slides and frames.
In addition to the two chamberings, the Garrison 4.25″ pistols are also available in two different finishes.

Many of today’s bargain 1911 pistols are made from cast components. By contrast, the forged steel used in the Garrison is as tough as it gets. Thin line wood grips offer an attractive double-diamond look with the cool Crossed Cannon logo and skin-grabbing texturing. The mainspring housing on the Garrison has just enough checkering to provide a solid interface with flesh without becoming cruel after a long afternoon at the range.

An extended beavertail grip safety with a memory bump keeps you from getting nipped by the lightweight skeletonized hammer. The extended left-sided thumb safety is easily accessible. The G.I.-standard magazine release has been proven effective through well over a century of active service. If it ain’t broke…

The raw stainless components could theoretically be cleaned in a dishwasher were you so inclined, while the hot salt blued version is simply gorgeous in any light. The synergistic result is a comfortable and powerful defensive handgun that is both fun to shoot and cool to use. In the past, Springfield Armory has offered the Garrison line with a standard G.I. five-inch barrel. Now you can get all that Garrison awesome in something a bit more packable.

Long on Performance

The newest Garrison has all that cool-guy stuff of the original Garrison along with a stubbier 4.25” barrel and correspondingly short slide. The standard frame maintains the inimitably-reliable classic single-stack magazine. That’s seven rounds in .45 ACP or nine in 9mm. Chopping three quarters of an inch off of the barrel and slide makes the gun more comfortable to carry and easier to clear clothing.

In this photograph, the author Will Dabbs MD points the Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25" 1911 pistol during a training exercise with the firearm. Guns are deadly weapons and safe training should be done under the supervision of trained professionals.
The author tested the new Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25″ 1911 pistols in both .45 and 9mm.

The new abbreviated Garrison occupies an interesting niche. This is a steel-framed handgun that weighs just north of two pounds. There are lighter concealed carry options in the Springfield Armory line-up. However, the extra weight mitigates felt recoil and muzzle flip. No matter the whiz-bang technology built into a defensive handgun, mass times velocity in one direction will always equal mass times velocity in the other direction. That’s not just a good idea, that’s the law.

As a result, the steel-framed Garrison is actually pleasant to shoot. If it is uncomfortable to run a handgun, that becomes a disincentive to train. Tactical shooting is a perishable skill. Your primary defensive pistol demands a little regular attention for safe and effective employment.

In this digital image, we see the stainless steel Springfield Armory M1911 pistol with a shooting target and ammunition. Ammo from Winchester Ammunition, Inc. provided tight groups and fed well. Another .45 ACP load is from Black Hills Ammunition. Black Hills Ammunition is an American ammunition and reloading supplies manufacturing company based in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Shown here are three of the loads used in the Springfield Garrison 4.25″ 1911 testing. All ran reliably in the guns and shot very accurately.

I have carried a steel-framed 1911 comfortably underneath my surgical scrubs at work countless times. My daily uniform as a physician is the tactical equivalent of pajamas. I am living proof that, with the right carry gear, you can successfully pack a full-sized, steel-framed 1911 underneath scrubs throughout a long day at work. Our armed forebears wielded such iron as a matter of course, but they were demonstrably tougher than are we. The chopped architecture of the Garrison makes all that even better. When properly secured, the Garrison is also a superb nightstand or truck gun. As a home defense tool, the Garrison is precise, reliable, and powerful.

Trigger Time

As regards Garrison 1911 pistols, the first decision is caliber. 9mm and .45 ACP are the menu. Each has its merits, and the respective acolytes espouse their ballistic dogma with near-religious zeal.

In this photo, the author is shooting the Springfield Armory 1911 Garrison 4.25" model. The semi-automatic firearm is an excellent choice for personal defense when outside of the home.
The Garrison 4.25″ 1911 is a steel-framed handgun that weighs just north of two pounds. This helps soak up recoil when shooting.

When stoked with modern high-tech expanding ammo, the 9mm is a reliable stopper that is comfortable to run. By contrast, the .45 ACP is all that only more so. Physics is physics. Jeff Cooper didn’t refer to the .45 ACP as a flying ashtray for nothing. The .45 version offers more vigorous recoil, but also projects more downrange authority.

In this photo is a box of Winchester 9mm ammo and the Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25" pistol chambered for the 9mm cartridge.
Personal tastes will drive your purchasing decisions. If a 1911 is in the cards, the new 4.25” Garrison is a classic defensive handgun that offers unimpeachable quality and exceptional accuracy.

The slide/frame interface on the Garrison is the place where dreams are made. Right out of the box, the gun’s manual cycling is unbelievably smooth. John Browning’s single-action trigger set a standard more than a century ago that has yet to be bested. You can tell from the moment you heft this gun that it is a seriously well-made piece of iron.

Shown in the photo is Black Hills ammo used for testing the Garrison pistol. In this case, the ammo is used to test the gun and not the gun to test the ammunition. Small arms ammunition pressure testing is used to establish standards for maximum average peak pressures of chamberings, as well as determining the safety of particular loads for the purposes of new load development.
Great accuracy, easy shooting and excellent reliability are just three of the traits associated with the Garrison 4.25″ 1911 pistols.

Of course, the Garrison was completely reliable and shot straight. Take your time and expect single jagged holes at typical engagement ranges. Now this was hilarious — an adolescent horsefly had the bad grace to land on my target while I was doing the shooting for this project. At seven yards I literally vaporized him with a single Remington 124-gr. hollow point.

Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25” 1911

Weight34/33 oz.
Overall Length7.9”
SightsLow-profile, three-dot
GripsThinline wood
FinishBlued or stainless
Capacity9+1/7+1 (one magazine included)


Issues of magazine capacity, weight, and mission particulars are all pertinent data points. Personal tastes and available resources flavor that equation. At the end of the day, however, the new 4.25” Garrison is a classic defensive handgun that offers unimpeachable quality at a decent price. For the gunman of distinction, it is class at a reasonable cost.

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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.

Will Dabbs, MD

Will Dabbs, MD

Will was raised in the Mississippi Delta and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After eight years flying Army helicopters, he left the military as a Major to attend medical school. Will operates an Urgent Care clinic in his small Southern town and works as the plant physician for the local Winchester ammunition plant. He is married to his high school sweetheart, has three adult children, and has written for the gun press for a quarter century.

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