Springfield Armory introduces the new Prodigy models on their website with the following: “The Prodigy from Springfield Armory take the proven 1911 platform and enhances it with double stack capacity and a performance-driven feature set. Reconfigured around a double-stack magazine, the Prodigy’s polymer grip module mounts to its forged steel frame offering capacities of 17+1 and 20+1. Optics ready with an ambidextrous safety and picatinny rail, the Prodigy combines the most beloved characteristics of the 1911 with modern capacity for unrivaled performance.”
That is a lot of words to say, “We are in the high cap double-stack 1911 market now.” Actually, for Springfield it would be “back in the double-stack 1911 market now.” The double-stack 1911 is not new to Springfield Armory; they have had a few models over the years. There were full-size and compact offerings that were available at different times using an all-metal frame.
The wide body high-capacity 1911 is not new. In 1988, Para Ordnance introduced their high capacity frame and changed the face of competitive shooting, and the “race-gun” race, so to speak, was on. Up until that point, compensated 1911 eight-round guns were the dominating model of competition shooting. There have been many models and manufacturers that have come and gone with different offerings of the wide body double-stack 1911. There were all-metal frames like the Para and modular frames with polymer grips like STI. However, for the past decade that market has really just been smaller manufacturers and the custom gun builders using the modular frame and grip we know as the 2011.
With the Springfield Armory Prodigy being introduced late last year, there is now a big name manufacturer offering a readily available double-stack. This is a pistol that has been eagerly awaited by the competitive shooting community, an optics-ready wide body that is affordably priced. As a shooter, I was thrilled to get my hands on this pistol and put it through its paces. Yes, for the last couple of years I have focused on shooting a variety of striker-fired 9 mm pistols; however, I am a 1911 fan boy at heart. I grew up learning how to shoot on 1911s, and I have a safe full of 1911s and 2011s. Up until the last couple of years I would only really focus on shooting Single Stack and Limited as my main divisions.
Let’s face it, a single-action 1911 in 9 mm is just a blast to shoot. The 1911 design, grip angle, trigger and ergonomics are, to me (and many others), just simply put, better than other handguns. Yes, this can be debated until the Earth finally gets sick of us humans and decides to shake us off. Go find a post somewhere and make your argument about your favorite gun on it until then. Also, just for the record, I don’t carry a 1911, nor do I have them in bug-out bags or night stands. I have different tools for different jobs.
The Prodigy is offered in two versions, 4.25-inch and five-inch. Both models are optics-ready with the Springfield’s AOS, Agency Optics System. The AOS are plates designed for the optics-ready Prodigy that accept most of the popular optics. Both lengths are offered optics-ready or with an optic, the HEX Dragonfly. For this T/E, I requested the five-inch AOS model without the installed HEX Dragonfly optic. This shipped with A13B model of optics plate for the HEX Dragonfly, along with two factory magazines, a 17-round and 20-round. There are five different plates available for purchase ($129) from Springfield Armory’s online store that cover the Shield RMSc/RMS2 footprint, Trijicon RMR/SRO, Leupold DeltaPoint, the Aimpoint Acro and the Holosun 509, that cover all the other optics in these footprints. The gun ships in a simple pistol sleeve and cardboard box. These are all price-saving measures, compared to a big hard plastic case with cheaper accessories.
So how would the Prodigy stack up to my excitement of getting it out to the range? First off, let me start by saying that the Prodigy is an absolute joy to shoot. The trigger is smooth and crisp, with a short reset that allows for fast follow-up shots. The fiber-optic front sight and the U-notch rear sight make it easy to acquire a sight picture quickly. The rear sight is fixed and dovetailed into the sight plate. The grip texture provides a nice solid hold on the gun. I would prefer something a little more aggressive with the texturing, and since this is polymer, that is an easy fix. The first range trip I ran the gun straight from the box with just a little bit of Hoppe’s Black on the hood of the barrel and a touch on the slide rails. Using the factory magazines and a mixture of 9 mm ammo in different bullet weights, I put 200 trouble-free rounds downrange.
At this price point, the fit and finish is what I expected. The finish is Black Cerakote on all metal parts. The gun locks up tight with no play in the barrel fit. There is a little bit of side-to-side play in the slide to frame fit. The ambidextrous safeties have a very positive “click” when slapping them on and off. The safeties are of the more traditional “tactical” width with deep serrations for a nice secure thumb rest when shooting. The extended magazine release also has deep serrations for a positive feel when engaging. It is not tapped for adding an extended button. I personally find the size of the magazine release to be fine, and it doesn’t interfere with my weak hand grip, but I do know that some people will probably prefer something with a larger button or more extended. The slide release is also serrated for easy manipulations. It is also more of the traditional tactical width and recessed into the frame.
The frame is all metal with the polymer grip secured with a screw in the trigger guard and screws on each side of the grip. The frame features a Picatinny rail for mounting lights, lasers or other accessories. It is not exactly a full length dust cover, it is cut at an angle and into a stirrup cut on the slide. The polymer grip has a nice undercut trigger guard, which is squared and has texturing on the front of it. The magazine well is slightly flared with a bevel. The mainspring is polymer and checkered at 25 lpi. Manufacturer specs list the weight at 33 ounces, with an overall length of 8.5 inches and height of 5.5 inches.
The Prodigy has an upswept style of beavertail with the hump for ease of deactivating. The hammer is skeletonized for fast lock times. The trigger is a medium curve style with three-hole and overtravel adjustment. The front of trigger has serrations that provide good feedback and texture for your trigger finger. The average of ten pulls on the Weber Digital gauge was two pounds, 14.3 ounces, from the box.
The slide has forward and rear cocking serrations that are deep enough to allow a good hold when racking the slide. The front sight is dovetailed and serrated with green fiber optic installed. I did not see on the Springfield Armory website what type of dovetail the cut is. The optics plate has a taller rear serrated sight with U-notch dovetailed into the plate. You should be able to have co-witnessed iron sights with your optic of choice. Whether you want that on your competition gun is a personal choice, but since they are dovetailed, you can easily knock them out if you don’t The Prodigy uses a five-inch (or 4.25- inch) bull barrel. These are forged stainless steel match-grade barrels. They are offered in a 1:16-inch twist rate that should provide good accuracy for a range of 9 mm ammunition. The guide rod is a two-piece full length with reverse plug. I used a variety of different ammunitions when shooting the Prodigy. First up was the Federal Syntech 150-grain followed by some handloaded SNS Coated bullets, 135-grain with N320 powder. Both are coated bullets, but with different coatings. Accuracy-wise, the SNS 135-grain grouped tighter than the 150s. I also shot the Eley 124-grain Competition round, Precision Delta 124-grain JHP and Magtech 147-grain.
The star round here was the Precision Delta 124-grain with under two-inch groups offhand at 20 yards. The other jacketed ammunition all had similar results with groups between two and three inches. The heavy bull barrel and long dust cover with good trigger made shooting rapidly on three- and four-yard target arrays at five to seven yards easy. The added weight of the EGW magwell made the gun feel more balanced in the hand.
In conclusion, the Springfield Armory Prodigy five-inch 9 mm is an excellent competitive pistol that delivers exceptional accuracy, reliability and performance at an affordable price point. MSRP for both the five-inch and 4.25-inch AOS is $1,499; if you choose the models with the HEX Dragonfly optic they are $1,699. I have seen them online at even better competitive prices. The Prodigy pistols have all the basic features that a competitive shooter would want, including being optics-ready. If you're in the market for a high-performance competition pistol, the Prodigy should be at the top of your list with its features and price point. Check out the Prodigy lineup and all of the Springfield Armory firearms and accessories at springfieldarmory.com.
Article from the May/June 2023 issue of USPSA’s magazine.