John Moses Browning designed the 1911 and for the past 110 years, this firearm design has proven itself on the battlefield, in self-defense situations and on the range as a very accurate firearm. 1911s are more popular today than they ever have been and a lot of upgrades have been made. But one of the major things about the Springfield Armory 1911 Emissary is that it takes a self-defense profile and yet it still has a lot of custom features and upgrades to make it even more efficient. One of the big things about the 1911 is that in a world of polymer frame, striker fired pistols, the 1911 is one of the safest semi-automatics that you can carry. We’re going to look at some advantages of the 1911, but the main thing we’re going to do is focus on the Emissary because this gun has a ton of features and upgrades – and man, it just shoots like a dream.
We really appreciate Springfield Armory for sending the Emissary for this review. When it comes to the 1911, they have been in service with the US military from 1911 up till about 1985. Again, they still serve in a lot of special ops units because the 1911 has just proven itself. Now there’s a lot of 1911s out in the market and we’re focusing on the Emissary as there’s a lot of custom features that have been made to this firearm but they all lead more toward a self-defense pistol. It’s an 8+1 stainless steel magazine, and you have two of them. They’re made by Mec-Gar, which is one of the premier magazine companies and magazines are one of the most important parts about keeping your gun reliable. The 1911 Emissary is a single action semi-automatic pistol and that means that when you pull the trigger, it doesn’t actuate the hammer, it’s just there. When you enter a fresh magazine loaded and you pull the slot back, it enters one round to the chamber and then with every subsequent shot, you’re going to have a round fire – up to eight rounds or when the magazine is empty.
What Springfield Armory has done with the Emissary is kind of brought it up to a peak performing 1911 . The original 1911s stood the test of time. They started out again ww1 all the way up through Vietnam and up until 1985 and they were great firearms that were very effective. There are some things about this design that can be improved, and that’s one of the things they did with the Springfield. Now at this point, we’re going to just look at the Springfield but we’re going to kind of go back and compare it to the original 1911 style and give you some ideas of why these changes are there.
I’ve shot 1911s forever and it’s just one of those guns that just feels right in my hand. One of the things about the Springfield Armory 1911 Emissary though is that these are forged slide, forged receiver or frame, and also forged barrel. Forging is better than casting as it just makes it a more solid firearm because the steel is actually more compressed, it’s better for milling, it’s better for finishing the firearm and so that in itself is a plus. It does have a stainless steel frame, a high carbon steel slide and of course – the barrel is stainless steel. The barrel is also a bull barrel design, so you can see it’s got a pretty large thicker barrel which aids in accuracy, but it also gives a little bit more weight to the end of the firearm which helps with recoil mitigation. The barrel is also crowned, which is a gradual slope and it’s very nice to have that because if this is a flat surface, then it can get dinged and the rifling can really cause you to have problems with accuracy.
The Springfield just has a very natural thin grip to it which really allows for you to shoot it and it has a very pointable feel, like you have got a good, solid grip on the pistol. One of the things about this particular pistol is it has VZ G-10 grips that are really thin and they have a grenade pattern which gives you a very good gripping surface. What’s most important about your grip with any pistol is the front strap and the back strap because that’s where you put most of your pressure. If you’ll notice, the front strap has been mimicked with that grenade pattern that comes all around the front and then also with the mainspring housing, you’ve got that grenade pattern as well. I’ll tell you, when you put this in your hand, you feel like you’ve got a solid grip on the pistol, and it’s not going anywhere.
Also, we have a high ride beavertail with the memory notch and this just allows you to get a really high grip and it also allows for the boar access to be a little bit better where you get your hand up high, which makes a huge difference. When I was doing a lot of competitive shooting, I was shooting with a high ride beavertail and it was awesome. I switched it out one time and brought one of my government models out and this beavertail makes a huge difference in recoil mitigation. It just really allows for you to get that really high grip and it also keeps that hammer from coming back and biting you.
Now, one of the things about the 1911 is that they are very safe to carry and one of the big reasons is the grip safety. The safety has to be depressed for the firearm to fire. Now you do have a frame safety as well, and with multiple safeties, it keeps your firearm from firing, making it a safe option for carrying.
Most of the time I’ll do my range shooting first before I do the full review, but this time I did the tabletop review before I shot the pistol. I’m going to tell you guys, I’ve shot 1911s for years and I really kind of grew up on 1911 – but with this grip with this grenade pattern in the front, and then with it on the mainspring housing and the grips, it really feels like this thing is attached to your hand and it’s not uncomfortable. The 1911 Emissary was really a pleasure to shoot and I felt like I really had a good grip on the firearm.
Now shooting 1911 in a full steel pistol and .45 ACP still has a little bit of recoil but it’s not too bad, especially with the bull barrel. However, that grip really gave me a lot of confidence. The bull barrel definitely has that weight on the end including the accessory rail, so there’s a lot of weight going on in your hand but when you’re really trying to get accuracy and you’re not carrying this on your hip all day, it’s a whole different ball game. We took the 1911 in a lot of different positions but one thing about the 1911 is that it is very pointable. It’s thin and it just seems to just be right there on target. That’s one of the things I love about it because it allows you to really get on target and get back on target quicker.
As far as a home-defense firearm, or if you want to carry a full size 1911 on your hip, this is going to make an excellent self-defense option. And again, these are very safe – with that grip safety and cocked and locked, you’re ready to go. I will say this though: whenever you’re carrying a gun for self-defense, keep one in the chamber.
If you’re looking for a 1911 I highly recommend Springfield Armory with the forged receiver, forged slide, forged barrels. They’re just very durable firearms. But, if you really want to take it up a notch or if you’re already a 1911 guy, the Emissary is going to impress you as it has a lot of innovative features, especially the slide. Again, taking self defense and mating it with custom features, it’s just a win-win.
Thanks to Springfield Armory for sending the Emissary for the review and Fiocchi USA for sponsoring the ammo.
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