Review of the Springfield Armory EMP 9mm
If you read my recent review of the Sig 238, you’ll know I purchased one for my wife, but ended up purchasing a second one for myself. A Sig 238 is based on the 1911 platform, and operates quite differently from most other striker fired weapons, like my S&W M&P 9c. I don’t plan on carrying my Sig 238 all the time – perhaps just during the Summer months. But the thought occurred to me that I really should get a firearm that I could practice and train with that has more “1911 like” controls.
I grew up with a father who loved collecting and trading in high-grade 1911’s – Gold Cups, Series 70 Government models….all names I grew up with. I was never particularly attracted to 1911’s for many years…I considered them “my father’s gun.” But now that I’m older, I find a growing affinity for the platform…perhaps out of nostalgia and love of my father. Isn’t it amazing how much more we become like our parents as we age? I briefly considered getting a nice 1911 in .45 ACP after I had purchased my Sig 238, but I really didn’t want to pay .45 ACP ammo prices, as I like to shoot a lot. I soon discovered there were some nice choices for 1911 style guns chambered in 9mm. After doing some research, I settled on the Springfield Armory EMP.
To the 1911 purist, no gun that isn’t chambered in .45 ACP can be considered a true 1911. Indeed, the EMP isn’t simply a 1911 with a 9mm barrel – it was designed from the ground up to be a 9mm hand gun, which further alienates from the 1911 purist crowd. I found the fact quite attractive however as some 1911’s modified to fire a 9mm round have less than stellar reputations for reliability – not good for a weapon which might be used daily for self-defense.
As pretty as the EMP is, the gun was very much designed to be carried as a defensive weapon, and is quite small by 1911 standards. The 3″ stainless steel “bull barrel” adds some weight to the front end of the compact firearm and goes a long way toward mitigating muzzle flip/recoil.
One of my favorite cosmetic features (which are also quite functional) are the cocobolo grips. The checkering is both aesthetically pleasing and makes the EMP easier to hang on to while firing. The grips also feature the Springfield Armory logo at the center and looks fantastic:
A version of the EMP is also available with G10 grips, but whichever version you buy, the other handles can be purchased separately. I’ve actually got some on order. Who doesn’t like to play dress up with their guns?
In keeping with the defensive/carry theme for this pistol, it comes equipped straight from the factory with fantastic Trijicon brand tritium night sites – another feature which helped sell me on this gun:
The EMP is sold with three 9-round magazines which when used, plus one in the chamber, provides a 10-round capacity. That’s about the minimum I’d need to complete a course of fire in the weekly tactical league in which I participate.
I thoroughly enjoy shooting the Springfield Armory EMP. The match-grade aluminum trigger is light and crisp with just a slight bit of take up, and a nice reset – it’s rated for 5-6 lbs. of pull but mine feels lighter. The thumb safety was easily engaged/disengaged, and I found the EMP extremely accurate. Unfortunately, I had some reliability issues with the gun during my first outing to the range. Here’s the video of the first 100 rounds I fired through the EMP:
After the first outing, I went home and thoroughly cleaned and lubed the gun. Apparently this is something that most 1911 guys will tell you that you should do before firing the gun. I’ve never cleaned a brand new gun before firing, so this was a learning experience with regard to a 1911 style gun. I’m happy to report it performed much better on the 2nd outing:
The retail price of the Springfield Armory EMP (reference number PI9209LP) is $1345.00, and comes with the usual polymer gun and two-magazine holster Springfield ships with many of their firearms (particularly in the XD and XD(M) lines). That price is a pretty tough pill to swallow when you compare it the less expensive, higher capacity polymer gun options from several different manufacturers, including Springfield themselves. But if you’re looking for a carry-sized, 1911-style pistol chambered in 9mm, the choices are few. Among them, Springfield Armory has the best reputation for customer service/after sales support, and the EMP is held in high regard. I’m quickly becoming a fan.
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.