First Thoughts: Springfield Emissary

Appeal of the 1911

Springfield Armory’s new 1911 Emissary dares to bridge the gap between production defensive and custom pistols. The .45 semi-auto has a foundation of forged steel in its frame, slide, and barrel in addition to an alluring two-tone finish, blued carbon steel slide, and stainless-steel frame. Speaking of the slide, you’ll spot rear cocking serrations carved from wide inset channels. The front “serrations” are unique and a feature of the “Tri-Top” slide design. Rather than being cut into the sides of the slide, the front grooves (about .4″ wide) are cut into the angled surface so they won’t interfere with holsters or carry. And it looks cool.

When we first handled the pistol, the value of the “pineapple grenade” look and feel of the grips was evident. Rather than sharp, pointed pyramids for texture, you’ll find a pattern of flat squares, maybe .15″ across, with sharp grooves cut between. This pattern makes up the G10 grip panels. A similar pattern is machined into the front and backstraps. The result is an aggressive-feeling grip surface that won’t dig into your sides during carry. During shot strings, it’s plenty effective at keeping the gun stable in the hand, even in hot and sweaty summer conditions.

The Emissary features a three-slot accessory rail for accessories like MantisX for training, or light/laser for defensive use. The front tritium sight is generously sized and sports a surrounding luminescent ring for improved daylight visibility. with a Tactical Rack U-Dot rear is designed for better target acquisition across varied lighting conditions. We found it fast and plenty precise for defensive, action competition, and recreational use.

This 1911 has a safety on the left side only, standard beavertail with grip safety memory bump, and… no barrel bushing. Instead, you’ll notice a heavy bull barrel with a nicely recessed crown.

As for shooting? Heck yes, we had to run, not walk, to the range to get an initial shooting session in the books with a variety of ammo. We found the flat trigger crisp, breaking at 4 3/4 pounds every time. Compared to a Springfield Armory TRP brought along for comparison. the Emissary is thin — and we liked the feel of that. This will make a great carry pistol, but the slender feel, much like the Springfield Armory Ronin Operator, feels great when shooting too.

Some initial group testing at 25 yards showed the Emissary is plenty accurate too. Federal HST printed a five-shot group of just 1.78 inches while the Federal Punch load put five shots into 2.14″. Black Hills HoneyBadger shot well too with a 1.71″ five-shot group.

Keep an eye out in an upcoming issue of American Handgunner for an in-depth review.

The pistol comes with two eight-round magazines and retails for $1279.

The U-notch rear sight offers a fast sight picture.

The Tri-Top slide is not only visually appealing but offers a subtle location for front cocking grooves.

The Emissary features a bull barrel — no bushing required.

The pineapple grenade-like surface is effective but won't tear up body and clothes during carry.

During the first outing, several ammo types, like this Federal HST, printed sub two-inch five-shot groups from 25 yards.

Springfield Armory's new 1911 Emissary .45 ACP. Note the flat trigger.