Springfield’s Prodigy Double Stack 1911 9mm – Comprehensive Review By: True Pearce

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John Moses Browning is undisputably the greatest gun inventor and designer ever to live.  Militaries, law enforcement, and civilians around the world still use his designs, ideas, and guns. Among his many achievements was a pistol patented in 1911 and carried by troops in WWI, WWII,  and every major conflict since. It’s still seeing use by special operators and is still winning world championships in competitors’ hands today. 

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Most 1911s remain fairly true to the original design.  Of course, modern technologies and manufacturing techniques have allowed for improvements, but for the most part the design and function incredibly remain faithful to the original.  

JMB’s original 1911 used single-stack magazines that held seven rounds of 45 ACP. Many manufacturers still make single-stack 1911s.  Springfield Armory has one of the biggest lineups of 1911s both in 45 and 9mm. Today I’m excited to bring you a review based on Springfield’s latest iteration and perhaps the most exciting gun in their entire catalog. 

The Springfield Armory Prodigy is a 1911 with a twist and couldn’t have a better name based on its lineage.  It features a double stack magazine and ships with a 17 and 20-round 9mm magazine. Other than the changes required to make a double stack magazine fit, it’s still a 1911.

The SA 2011 Prodigy’s new 20 round double stack mag.

I honestly have not been this excited about a gun from a manufacturer in years and years.  While this has certainly been done before, it’s never been done by a manufacturer with the reputation, size, or pedigree of Springfield Armory. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’ve never seen a double stack 1911, sometimes called a 2011, with these features, fit, and finish for anywhere close to this price point. The fact that it takes STI pattern mags rather than Para style is a big deal itself.

There are certainly boutique manufacturers selling custom 2011’s but they’re near twice the price point of the Prodigy. You can also commission a custom gunsmith to build you one but the prices will start at $3000 and go up.

Currently, there are two Springfield Armory Prodigy 2011 Double Stack Pistols. One is a five-inch barrel and the other is a 4.25 inches. There are technically four SKU’s as you can get either with Springfields HEX red dot optic as an option. The version that doesn’t come with the dot is still optics ready and uses the Agency Optic System which are optics plates. Currently, all the models are 9mm.

The only difference between the two other than barrel and slide length is that the five-inch features a dust cover with a full Picatinny rail while the 4.25 only has one slot.

The barrels are stainless match grade bull barrels with an 11-degree target crown.

The barrel on both pistols locked up tight much like what you’d get from a custom pistol. The feed ramp on both pistols was nicely polished and the barrels feature a loaded round indicator slot.

Currently, Springfield is only offer the Prodigy with a bull barrel. However, the slide is cut to accept a bushing. If you wanted to replace the barrel with a threaded bushing barrel, it’s ready to do that.

Field stripping the Prodigy is fairly easy. Remove the slide release using the second half-moon-shaped notch and the slide comes right off.

Removing the barrel, recoil spring, and guide rod require the use of a supplied Allen wrench on the front of the two-piece guide rod.

Both pistols use a two-piece guide rod which makes breaking the pistols down very easy.
Removing the guide rod with allen key wrench.

The slide on the Prodigy is a Forged Carbon Steel that is Cerakoted. It features excellent serrations both front and back. The cuts, including the ball cut at the end of the muzzle, all look attractive and offer excellent purchase on the slide without being too aggressive. All of the Prodigy pistols are optics-ready using a plate system.

The cuts and the serrations look the part and function perfectly.

The front sight is dovetailed in and is a green fiber optic.

The rear sight is part of the optics-ready plate system and co-witnesses perfectly with the HEX red dot. The optic and sight setup is excellent and I can’t say enough good about the configuration. The HEX isn’t my favorite red dot, but it’s decent considering the price point.

The AOS Plate system for optics is excellent and looks like it was well thought out rather than being an afterthought.
The sights not only co-witness well with the dot but they should be tall enough to work with most suppressors.
The Ambi thumb safeties feel comfortable, natural, and the serrations look like they match the rest of the gun.

The Frame

The frame on the prodigy is also made from Forged Carbon Steel. The slide-to-frame fit was excellent with the 4.25 being just a little tighter.

The extractor fit isn’t what you’d find on a $6000 2011 but…this doesn’t cost a what custom does.

The frame features all the 1911 goodies like Ambi thumb safeties.

True to JMB’s design, the Prodigy does have a grip safety that prevents the gun from firing if it’s not fully depressed.

The grip safety is blended pretty well into the frame.

The grip itself is polymer which is common for 2011-style pistols. I personally prefer that, especially for a carry gun as steel gripped 2011s are extremely heavy. The texture on the grip is very nice, but if you wanted something more aggressive, stippling is certainly an option and is what I’ve done to my custom 2011’s. That being said, I like the grip texture.

There is currently no magwell on the Prodigy and I didn’t have time to see if other 2011 magwells fit. I’m sure that if they don’t it will just be a matter of days before someone is selling one.

The Prodigy grip is double undercut under the trigger for a higher grip which is something you’d typically see on a custom build rather than a production gun.

The double undercut under the trigger guard is usually a custom feature. Kudos to Springfield for including it.

The magazine release is large enough for most hands and features serrations that match the rest of the gun. While the mag release is not currently Ambi, the magazines have cuts on them that make me wonder if that’s eventually coming.

The mag release is the perfect size and shape to fit most hands. Also, another angle on the double undercut trigger guard.

Speaking of magazines, I have a bunch of STI, Stacatto, SV, and other 2011 magazines and they fit perfectly in the Prodigy. You can also get big stick (high cap) mags that will fit. That’s excellent news.

A few of the magazines I tried in the Prodigy. They all worked and functioned fine. My custom mags with Grams followers and TTI basepads are the same length as the SA 20 round but hold 23 rounds. Springfield has an accessory magazine that holds 26 rounds.

The Prodigy ships with a flush fit 17 round and an extended magazine that holds 20+1.

The follower could likely be replaced and a new base pad put on to increase the amount of rounds but 20 isn’t too shabby.

The trigger is curved, has some nice lightening cuts, and features serrations on the face.

While the trigger is a little more “hefty” than I personally prefer on a 2011, it’s certainly usable, short, and pretty crisp. The five inch averaged 5lbs 11.5oz. A good gunsmith could have it down to 2 1/2 lbs in a few minutes if it’s important to you. The 4.25 averaged 5lbs 9oz. They are very shootable as you can see in the videos below. They feel lighter than striker fired guns of the same weight because they are a much shorter pull.

The only weird thing I found during this review is that the ejector is shaped differently than any other 2011 I’ve ever seen. It’s not a big deal, just odd. Usually, the tip angles in the opposite direction (up). That being the case, the brass all ejected perfectly.

Shootabilty/Accuracy

The Prodigy’s both shoot very soft with the five inch being marginally easier to shoot. I’d certainly carry the 4.25 though and not feel like I was giving much up. I had no malfunctions of any kind, even when shooting my own reloads. It doesn’t get much better than perfect reliability.

I saw similar accuracy from both guns. I shoot pistols well but have an astigmatism in my eyes that causes red dots to bloom. They both would likely shoot better groups for someone that didn’t have an astigmatism.

Groups were shot from a rest at 20 yards.

Best group was shot with my handloads. Those are pulled CCI aluminum cases with RMR 124 Gr Flat Point Match Bullets seated a little long.
This was an average sized group out of both guns for the Norma MHP 108 grain. The vertical stringing likely was the shooter struggling with the red dot at 20 yards.
That’s a pretty good group for the 65 gr Norma going 1650 fps.
I called this 20 yard flyer with the Hornady Critical Defense 115 gr FTX.
This was a pretty nice group with some 124 gr RMR roundnose bullets. I shot them all before thinking of taking a picture.

Holster fitment will vary but most 2011 holsters should fit that were made for full length or nearly full length dust covers with Picatinny. My 3 gun holster for a six inch 2011 fit great but my five inch custom holster only fit the 4.25. Once again, these Prodigy’s are made by Springfield Armory and it will only be days before there are plenty of aftermarket accessories including holsters. They’re going to sell a lot of these.

If you buy the version with the HEX it ships with a plate that replaces the HEX should you want to run just irons. The rear sight on the plate is adjustable for windage.

MSRP on the both the five inch and 4.25 with the HEX red dot is $1699

MSRP on both the five inch and 4.25 with irons but optics ready is $1499

Extra magazines are $60.

Those prices are all MSRP so you should be able to pick them up for about 20% less than that.

If you want to conceal carry buy the 4.25. If you are going to play tactical games or compete get the 5 inch. Both will work without doing anything to them straight out of the box. The Prodigy will grow with you. It’s excellent in stock form. As you get more comfortable running a manual safety, a trigger job and some custom tuning of the mainspring and the recoil spring will get you pretty close to a custom 2011 at a much better price point. I have lots of friends that have wanted 2011’s for years but havne’t been able to justify the cost. I’m pointing all of them to the Prodidgy. It’s the best value in pistols I’ve seen in a long time.

I’m not paid by Springfield and to keep the two Prodigy’s I have I’ll have to pay for them. I’m impressed enough that I’m planning on purchasing them.

Click HERE to visit Springfield Armory and learn more.

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