Photos by Oleg Volk and Ben Battles
The new ultra precise, slim, lightweight and “print-free” 9mm 1911 concealed carry option from Springfield
In addition to busily designing, testing and beginning the manufacture of its Editors’ Choice Award winning Saint 5.56 AR-15 rifle, Springfield Armory also managed to come out with seven new pistols for 2017. Our favorite—and one that we predict will be a huge success—is their new EMP 4-inch Concealed Carry Contour 9mm 1911 ($1,220).
With its bobtailed mainspring housing to greatly reduce “printing” when work under light garments, this single-stack 1911 was designed expressly for concealed carry. Yes, it’s a 9mm, but with all the ultra-performance 9mm defensive ammunition available today, that’s not a handicap. Its 9mm chambering provides a number of benefits that permit it to be truly optimized for concealed carry—like a smaller and thinner frame and slide, and lighter weight, both loaded and unloaded, than a 4-inch barreled 1911 chambered in .45 ACP.
Springfield Armory lists the EMP’s empty weight with magazine as 30.5 oz., but our evaluation pistol tipped the scales of our Pitney Bowes certified postage meter at a half an ounce less—30.0 oz. on the dot. It comes with three blued-steel, flush-fit magazines of 9-round capacity, and ten rounds (9+1) of Hornady 135-gr. Critical Duty ammunition will add 4.5 oz., yielding a fully loaded carry weight of 34.5 oz. Dimensions are 7.5” L x 5.5” H x 1.5” W, the maximum width being measured from the outside edges of the ambidextrous safety levers. Width is 1-1/8” at the grips, and 15/16” at the slide.
The Springfield Armory EMP 4-inch Concealed Carry Contour 9mm 1911 is a very handsome piece. It features a black, hard-coat anodized, forged aluminum alloy frame with a pronounced bobtail at the bottom of the mainspring housing to reduce printing when concealed, a forged stainless steel, matte-finished slide with rear-only cocking serrations, an extended beavertail grip safety with tactical (or speed) bump to ensure full depression and a deep pocket in the top that surrounds the rear of the ventilated Commander-style hammer under recoil, completely eliminating any chance of “hammer bite.”
The bushingless, Match Grade, stainless steel bull barrel is 6-grove rifled at a 1:16” LH twist rate, and has a fully supported chamber, polished feed ramp and loaded chamber witness hole in the top rear of the barrel hood. The barrel is retained, and the slide is powered by a full-length guide rod with dual recoil springs. The dust cover is fully rounded, preserving the classic 1911 profile, and eliminating the possibility of an empty equipment rail snagging on the draw, a not infrequent occurrence with some holsters, especially when carried behind the hip or in the small of the back. The scalloping pattern on the G10 grips provides excellent grip traction, and is made all the more effective by the same scalloping pattern being machined into the front strap and the rounded surface of the mainspring housing above the bobtail and below the beavertail grip safety. The left grip panel is relieved from roughly the center to its front edge at the level of the non-reversible magazine release button to provide easier thumb access. Even so, all testers still had to break their firing grips to depress the mag release button far enough to drop the mag. That problem could be eliminated with a somewhat longer mag release button that projects farther off the frame. Empty magazines dropped free once the release button was fully depressed.