Springfield Armory EMP


The Springfield 1911 Enhanced Micro Pistol is a semi-automatic medium-frame pistol chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W. Just like the original 1911A1, it is recoil operated, so the expanding gases that push the projectile out also forces the slide back and by doing so ejects the casing and chambers another round.

Part of the reason 1911s are so popular is because they have a rather light recoil due to its solid metal frame. Comparing the EMP to other Springfield 1911s, it’s noticeably smaller. This is because it is chambered for smaller cartridges, so it doesn’t need as much weight to function comparably.

The EMP is hammer fired and has a single-action only trigger that sets off the action with a 5- to 6-pound pull. It has two safety mechanisms. A grip safety that rests within the beavertail curve below the hammer. The grip safety is automatically engaged when not in use, so it cannot fire unless the trigger is actually pulled. This means no accidental discharges if dropped. The second safety is a manual safety that turns on and off with a flip of a switch.

springfield_emp_b0316111 springfield_emp0316113


Caliber: 9mm
Grip: Cocobolo hardwood<br />G10
Capacity: 9
Sights: Fixed 3-dot tritium sights
Action: Semi-auto
Size: Medium
Trigger: Single-action
Slide Material: Stainless steel slide/satin
Frame Material: Aluminum alloy frame/black hardcoat anodized
Website: http://www.springfie…
Weight: 1.625 pounds
Trigger Pull: 5 to 6 pounds
Barrel Length: 3"
Length: 6.5"
Height: 5"
.40 S&W
Caliber: .40 S&W
Grip: Cocobolo hardwood<br />G10
Capacity: 8
Sights: Fixed 3-dot tritium sights
Action: Semi-auto
Size: Medium
Trigger: Single-action
Slide Material: Stainless steel/satin
Frame Material: Aluminum alloy/black hardcoat anodized
Website: http://www.springfie…
Weight: 2.0625 pounds
Trigger Pull: 5 to 6 pounds
Barrel Length: 3"
Length: 6.5"
Height: 5"

Editor Review

The Gun that Changed the Day

When we scheduled the most recent Ballistics By The Inch (BBTI) tests, I asked my co-conspirators to bring along any of the recent Springfield Armory pieces they had access to, since the folks at Guns.com had asked me to write a profile of the company and I wanted to sample their latest products.

“You’ve gotta try the EMP,” said one of them. “It’s an incredible little gun.”

We got together, and spent a long week of testing. We had done chop tests. We had shot real world guns for comparison to the data points collected with the test barrels. We had shot more than 6,000 rounds, recorded almost twice as many chronograph readings. We’d been outside in the heat and humidity of a late Missouri spring for a week, sitting in an old cabin tent, working off a couple of banquet tables, staring not at a shooting target, just a log behind the chronos. I must admit, by the time the last of the formal testing was done, I was sick of shooting guns, sick of the clamp of electronic ear muffs on my head, sick of my hands being sore from so much recoil. I was ready to just get home and enjoy a cold beer.

I said as much to my friends. “Let’s not bother with the Springfield guns. We’ll be getting together again in just a few weeks – I can try them then.”

My buddy with the EMP laughed. “Oh, come on - we’re here, we’re done with all the work. It won’t take long to give the EMP a try. It’ll be fun - you’ll really like this gun.”

I looked at him. Sometimes I just hate enthusiasm. “Yeah, OK. Get it out, let’s get this over with. But let’s go around to the side, I’m tired of being in this tent.”

He went to the truck to get the gun. I grabbed a blank sheet of paper and some duct tape, got out of the tent and wandered over to the side. This isn’t a formal range at all - just an old, falling down cabin of railroad ties on some property out in the country where there was enough room for our BBTI set-up. Usually I have another place where I like to shoot, but this place works well enough for the testing.

I was taping up the piece of paper to the side of the cabin as he came back from the truck with the pistol and a box of ball ammo. He popped out the magazine, handed me the pistol. I looked at it as he loaded the magazine.

A Small 1911

I like the M1911 style guns. I own several of them currently, and have shot a bunch over the years. It’s a good platform, and ideal in the original configuration using .45 ACP ammunition. Most of the ones I have shot in other cartridge configurations (.40 S&W and 9 mm, mostly) have been OK, but just didn’t feel ‘right’, if you know what I mean.

The EMP is a 1911 pattern gun. Except it’s not. Springfield Armory has re-engineered the 1911 for the shorter case of 9mm and .40 S&W. It’s like the whole thing has been shrunk about 15 or 20 percent. The result is unlike anything like I have shot previously - a 1911 which fits these smaller cartridges by design. The 3" barrel fits the overall size of the gun without feeling at all small. It balances perfectly, shoots smoothly.

The first time I handled, I liked it - a lot.

Appearance and Design

The first thing I noticed was the aggressively checked G-10 grips. They have more relief than the typical thin grips you’ll find on a 1911, which was fine - it meant the gun fit my large hands nicely, without feeling at all bulky. And the combination of both the amount of relief and the aggressive checkering meant that the gun didn’t move around in your hand at all when being fired. It was rock solid and very comfortable.

That sense of solidity carries over with every other aspect of the fit and finish of the gun as well. The grips are also visually attractive - modern, without being weird. Which pretty much characterizes the whole design of the pistol. There’s a classic 1911 grip safety. Large, ambidextrous thumb safeties which aren’t too large. It is all put together well, and all the small details seen to like the fine machine that it is. There’s no slop when you slide the magazine home. Rack the slide, a round chambers smoothly, like a custom 1911, thanks to the fully supported feed ramp.


Pull the trigger and it is smooth and crisp, as good as any custom trigger I've felt. Frame and slide are steel construction, and this adds weight and stability in firing. Recoil is minimal, allowing you to stay on target with minimal effort - this was the reason why this gun shot so well for me, better than any other 9mm I have shot. I would imagine that there is probably not much more kick to the .40 S&W version, since that gun is 6 ounces heavier. The operation is clean - this is the real difference in an action designed for the short cartridge, rather than a 1911 adapted for the cartridge.


The 3-dot Tritium sights are good, easy to use in any light. The sight design is low profile, intended for combat purposes, with no extraneous bits sticking out to snag clothing or get caught on a holster. The whole gun reflects this envisioned usage, just like the original 1911 on which it is based.


I’ll be the first to admit - I am not the world’s best shot. I won’t win any tournaments anywhere. My self-defense guns are good, reliable, and I am happy if I can ding a 6" steel at 25 yards with them. I don’t particularly care for bench shooting, and super accuracy has never held much appeal for me - it’s fine if others want that, but I tend to think of guns and their use as more dynamic.

So what I look for is “shootability” rather than some ideal accuracy. After my buddy handed me the EMP and went over the features of it, I held it in a cup and saucer grip. I slipped the loaded mag home, racked a round. My first five shots out of the gun were all in a 1" group at 10 yards, shot freehand, standing. The holes were all touching one another. And that was rapid fire after the first shot.

I popped on the safety. My buddy whistled, said: “Damn fine shooting.”

We backed up. The trees were sparse enough around the cabin that I still had a clear view of the target. I hadn’t been planning on shooting long distance, but I wanted to see how the EMP handled at range. Those first five shots into blank piece of paper made a fine bulls-eye at 25 yards.

The rest of that magazine (the 9mm holds nine rounds, the .40 S&W eight) and the next one were all grouped around that bulls-eye, some were in it. I don’t think a single round was off the paper, and I wasn’t taking great care to see how accurate I could be. As I said, I’m not that good a shot, generally - but this gun was like magic in the way it fit me. Yeah, magic - brought to you by intelligent engineers and quality control. That’s what I call shootability.


Sometimes I hate enthusiasm, but I have also learned to trust my buddy. He was right - it was fun to shoot this little 9mm and it really was a great end to what had been a productive but exhausting week. In the end, it was good to be reminded how much I enjoy shooting and to feel a quality pistol in my hand that didn’t add to the ache of my share of 6,000 test rounds.

I looked at the gun, as I reluctantly handed it back to my friend. “What do these go for?”

We walked back to the truck. The Springfield Armory case was open on the tailgate. “This model? About $1,100, new. There aren’t too many used ones for sale yet.”

$1,100 is more than I have spent on any handgun previously and I don’t really need another concealed-carry gun, which is also too heavy for pocket carry. I watched it disappear into the gun case.

I sighed. “Guess I should start saving my money.”

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