Springfield Armory launched its new Prodigy AOS 9 mm pistol last September to much fanfare. The initial offering in the company’s new 1911 DS double-stack line of pistols, the Prodigy is optics-ready and comes in two sizes, five and 4¼ inches. Not only is the 1911 DS Prodigy optics-ready, it can co-witness with the raised fiber-optic front sight and U-notch serrated rear sight, and includes an ambidextrous thumb safety and Picatinny rail for mounting accessories. A perfect fit with the HEX Dragonfly red-dot optic, the Prodigy is also compatible with other red-dot sights using AOS steel adapter plates (more about the Agency Arms collaboration later).
The optics-ready Prodigy combines the shootability of the 1911 with double-stack 9 mm capacity. “Not one person has ever said ‘my gun has too many rounds,’” pro shooter Rob Leatham, a longtime Springfield Armory team member, said in a video posted to the company’s YouTube page. “This is the gun that can run as fast as I can go.”
As a steel-framed 1911 updated with double-stack capacity, the five-inch Prodigy with HEX Dragonfly optic mounted at the factory for $1,699 (MSRP) is a best buy for competitive shooters on the hunt for an affordable 2011-style pistol. Let’s take a closer look.
The 1911 DS Prodigy AOS pistol is built on a forged carbon steel receiver with wraparound polymer grip module sporting an adaptive grip texture treatment that’s borrowed from Springfield Armory’s Hellcat line of pistols. A black Cerakote finish on the forged carbon steel slide and receiver give the Prodigy an appealing competition aesthetic. Forward cocking serrations complement the ones located in the rear; I really liked the feel of the cuts while racking the slide. The slide stop and release, located on the left side of the slide, is countersunk into the frame. Both it and the extended magazine release—also left-mounted—are serrated for easy operation.
Housed within the forged carbon steel slide is a match-grade bushingless bull barrel. Forged from stainless steel, the barrel is five inches long with 1:16-inch twist and 11-degree crown. There is a 4¼-inch barrel option available as well. The firing pin is made of titanium. On top of the slide is a high-profile green fiber-optic sight paired with a black serrated rear sight. The iron sights are reminiscent of the popular Dawson Precision setup. If you haven’t sampled the black serrated rear and front green fiber-optic sight combo yet, you’re missing out.
Springfield Armory collaborated with top firearm modification group Agency Arms to design the 1911 DS Prodigy’s Agency Optic System slide cut and plates (this is where the AOS acronym originates). The AOS plates are machined from billet 17-4 stainless steel and are “designed specifically to preserve visible iron sights.” I only tested with the HEX Dragonfly mounted, but I found the system to work quite well, offering a perfect co-witness, thanks to the integral rear sight. The Prodigy ships with a cover plate, along with one optics-mounting plate designed for the HEX Dragonfly and “other popular red-dot optics.” Both plates are dovetailed. A provided T10 six-point key fits the two 6-48 screws that secure the mounting plates to the slide. Additional plates for mounting different red-dot sights can be found at Springfield Armory’s online store.
The wide-body polymer grip module attached to the steel frame mentioned earlier gives the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy AOS its 9 mm double-stack capability. A large beveled magazine well allows for quick reloading, especially while on the move. Befitting a double-stack 1911 pistol, the Prodigy’s grip is wide, but not too wide. I found the molded-in stippling to be comfortable for an extended shooting session while still providing solid grip. The squared trigger guard has stippling on the front of it as well. As for magazines, two are included with the Prodigy, 17 rounds in a flush-fit magazine and a 20-round extended mag. In addition, extra 17- and 20-round magazines and an optional 26-round magazine can be purchased from Springfield’s website for $60 each.
The black, three-hole skeletonized trigger has a curved, serrated face and arrived from the factory with about a four-pound pull. On par with most factory 1911 triggers, if not better, the Prodigy’s trigger breaks firmly, with little overtravel and a clean reset.
The aforementioned ambidextrous manual thumb safety works in concert with a grip safety that’s extended and also has a memory pad. In conjunction with the extended beavertail, the setup is ideal for action shooters and 1911 fans alike.
The HEX Dragonfly 3.5-MOA red-dot optic, made from anodized aluminum, has eight levels of manual brightness adjustment and 16-hour auto-off function. It is simple to adjust at one MOA per click and 160 MOA total windage and elevation adjustment. The Dragonfly was easy to track during shooting, once the dot’s brightness was adjusted to my liking at the third-lowest setting.
On the range, the Prodigy proved to be a flat and smooth shooter after a quick lube. The 9 mm and 1911 combo feels good in the hand and is comfortable to shoot. The extra mass present in the five-inch model provides for excellent recoil management. I was banging out shots comfortably on paper at 15 yards and steel plates out to 45 yards with no issue. The speed on this gun is absolutely outstanding with quick follow-up shots. The Prodigy’s trigger begs to be pulled fast, but also works well during more slow, precise shots at distant steel plates. The sights are right on the money. And, the forward cocking serrations with smart cuts on the slide are a nice touch.
During my evaluation, there were only a few malfunctions after about 300 rounds through the Prodigy. The second round in the 17- and 20-round mags didn’t chamber twice, both times quickly remedied with a firm tap. After giving the Prodigy another quick clean and lube there were no more problems.
As for accuracy, I was shooting Koenig Premium Ammunition 110-grain JHP load, and Federal Syntech Range 115-grain load. At 15 yards on paper targets from a sandbag rest, the Koenig 110-grain was best, with the best group measuring about 0.5-inch (five shots), and the Syntech’s tightest group at 0.7-inch.
A friend who is not a competitive shooter, or even a 1911 fan (and generally complains about everything), picked up and fired the Prodigy with me during a weekend outing and would not stop raving about it, citing the tight build, smoothness of shooting and relatively low 9 mm recoil, plus the co-witness ability with the factory-mounted HEX Dragonfly red-dot sight.
As a competition gun, the Prodigy definitely warrants a closer look from action shooters. This is a tightly built 2011-style pistol that feels solid in the hands, and the black Cerakote finish gives it a distinct, all-business look. Both the five- and 4¼-inch versions of the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy AOS have a reasonable MSRP of $1,499, or equipped with a HEX Dragonfly red-dot optic for $200 more. Go to the Springfield Armory website.
All photos by Peter Fountain.