The 1911 pistol is amazing. Everything from the controls, thin profile, single-action trigger and incredible shooting accuracy makes the 1911 among the most popular handguns in the United States.
But, it is also a design with some age on it, with more than a century of service under its belt. So, what if you were to modernize and update the 1911 for today?
Springfield Armory did just that with the release of the EMP (Enhanced Micro Pistol) Champion line of pistols, and the gun world erupted with excitement. Springfield was able to take the best features of the 1911, chamber it in 9mm (and size down the pistol accordingly), and create a stunning-looking and precise-shooting handgun.
What Exactly Is It?
I recently had a chance to go hands on and review the Springfield Armory EMP Champion Concealed Carry Contour pistol. I can honestly say it is extremely well-suited for the concealed carrier.
But before we get into that, let’s talk about what the EMP line (also offered in an even more compact 3″ version) is. As the 9mm round is shorter than the 1911’s original .45 ACP chambering, there is some room for shortening the fore to aft portion of the frame for the smaller round — and the EMP does just that. The result is a more compact frame that is smaller than a traditional 1911, and is sized perfectly for the shorter 9mm round.
Now, back to the Concealed Carry Contour variant of the EMP. The rear of the pistol’s grip is angled cut (contour carry) to reduce printing. It has a black anodized aluminum frame and a beautifully engraved stainless steel slide. Installed is a 4” bull barrel (hence the “4” in the EMP4 markings on the slide) along with an ambidextrous thumb safety and very thin G10 grips. The front- and backstrap is machined to match the texture on the G10 grips. Springfield Armory calls it “Posi-Lock front strap checkering.” The consistent feel around the entire grip offers a tight and firm purchase.
Tell Me About the Trigger
Most notably, the single-action trigger is amazing. I measure the trigger weight at 5.5 lbs., which is the perfect weight for a concealed carry 1911 in my opinion. When firing, the single-action trigger aides in accurate “on target” shooting.
The loaded weight is of the pistol is 34 ⅜ oz. with 10 rounds in the pistol. The smooth trigger coupled with the pistol’s weight equates to reduced muzzle rise. To summarize, you get all the rich qualities of a 1911 pistol with the extremely minimal recoil the 9mm offers.
What Else Does It Offer?
The pistol ships with three single-stack 9mm magazines that carry nine rounds. It offers a three-dot sight picture with a fiber optic front sight and a metal, drift adjustable, two-dot rear sight. The 4″ bull barrel is fully supported with an integral bushing at the muzzle. This system eliminates the need for a detachable barrel bushing like on standard 1911 handguns.
It has a skeletonized hammer and trigger along with a standard grip safety with an extended beaver tail. Together, the entire package is a showpiece and shooter in one.
No firearm review is complete without some serious range time. After all, if the gun doesn’t reliably put rounds on target, why would you want to rely on it for self-defense?
I shot several types of ammo through the pistol, and it functioned incredibly well. Right out of the case it was as accurate as any handgun I have fired. The fiber optic front sight stood out for quick target acquisition and the pistol hardly moved with the 9mm rounds.
Transitioning between targets was a breeze. Even when backed up past 20 yards or firing with one hand, the EMP performed just as I expected. Frankly, my love of the pistol increased the more I shot it.
Ok, How Much?
The Springfield Armory EMP Concealed Carry Contour’s MSRP is $1,220. When considering all of its features and excellent shootability, it’s a fair deal. If your budget can’t stretch for this fine gun, no worries. The new Springfield Ronin EMP offers many of these great features but at a more affordable $849 price tag.
For those who love 1911 qualities and 9mm shooting, this EMP is for you. The craftsmanship and attention to detail this model offers is second to none in my humble opinion.
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