Review: Springfield Armory Garrison 4.25-inch 9 mm

A Commander-length 1911 for concealed carry at an affordable price.

by
posted on June 27, 2024
Springfield Armory Garrison9mm 1
Springfield Armory’s new Garrison 1911 4.25 handgun chambered in 9 mm Luger shares much of the same DNA as the full-sized Garrison 1911 models released a few years back, but with a shorter slide and barrel. Geared towards the concealed carry crowd, the feature-rich Garrison 1911 4.25 is available in blued carbon steel (MSRP: $868) and stainless steel (MSRP: $917) versions.
Photo by Peter Fountain

Earlier this year, Springfield Armory expanded its Garrison 1911 pistol lineup with two new 4¼-inch barreled models chambered in 9 mm Luger and .45 ACP. Similar to the full-sized Garrison 1911 models released in late 2021, these smaller variants are available in classic hot-salt blued carbon steel or rust-resistant stainless-steel options. With a design that marries classic and modern 1911 features, the Garrison 1911 4.25 is a solid choice for a defensive pistol. Let’s take a closer look.

Garrison 1911 4.25 slide
Note the skeletonized hammer, thumb safety and extended beavertail grip safety with memory bump. (Photo by Peter Fountain)

 

While smaller than the original models, Springfield Armory’s new Garrison 1911 4.25 pistol doesn’t skimp on quality, with a forged steel frame, slide and barrel for durability, low-profile iron sights, extended left-side-only thumb safety and checkered thinline wood grips. Adding to the traditional aspects of the design are a push-button magazine release and single-sided slide release. Although modeled on a classic 1911 look, the Garrison 1911 4.25 also sports modern enhancements such as a match-grade stainless steel barrel, a skeletonized hammer and an extended beavertail grip safety with memory bump (the latter helping minimize the chance of hammer bite). To complete the package, there’s a traditional barrel bushing system for easy takedown.

Garrison 1911 4.25 stainless steel
Both Garrison 1911 4.25 models sport a matte finish on the rounds and a high polish on the flats, as seen on the stainless steel model pictured here. (Photo by Peter Fountain)

 

The company made these guns with aficionados of classic 1911 aesthetics for their carry pistols in mind.

“The Garrison is designed to appeal to those who respect tradition and demand the quality for which Springfield Armory 1911 pistols are known,” Springfield Armory’s Vice President of Marketing, Steve Kramer said. “With the addition of these new 4¼-inch models to complement the original five-inch guns, fans of classic 1911 pistols have a great new EDC-ready option.”

Garrison 1911 4.25 iron sights
With dovetailed, low-profile three-white-dot iron sights, the Garrison 1911 4.25 provides a solid sight picture. (Photos by Springfield Armory)

 

For my review, I opted for the Garrison 1911 4.25 chambered in 9 mm Luger. Although there is little doubt the .45 ACP cartridge has more stopping power, the benefits of the softer shooting 9 mm Luger in a steel 1911 pistol made it a more compelling option, at least for this evaluation. In addition, the Garrison 1911 4.25 has a fully supported ramp to the barrel—meaning the ramp is basically part of the barrel itself. When the 9 mm Luger cartridges come off the follower, they are guided into the barrel chamber by this ramp and the rear sides of the cartridge cases have more support. Little can go wrong with this setup, especially with higher-pressure ammunition.

Garrison 1911 with hot-salt blued finish
Besides the stainless steel model, there is a carbon-steel option with a hot-salt blued finish. (Photo by Peter Fountain)

 

With a shorter slide and barrel, the Garrison 1911 4.25 has an overall length of 7.9 inches, but the height is still at 5½ inches like the previously released full-sized models. Weight (loaded) drops to 34 ounces, which is a quarter-pound less than its Government-length big brothers, thanks to slicing off three-quarters of an inch from the slide and barrel. Despite the reduction in size that brings the weight to less than two pounds, the Garrison 1911 4.25 has enough heft to manage recoil well, while still being compact enough for carry use.

The skeletonized, three-hole trigger shoe has a serrated face along with an overtravel adjustment screw. It has a short takeup and, combined with the light-feeling recoil, make this pistol a fast shooter.

Slim grip
As a single-stack gun, the Garrison 1911 4.25 has a slim grip, making it ideal for carry use. The thinline wood grips are checkered and adorned with a double-diamond pattern. (Photos by Peter Fountain)

 

As for sighting duties, the Garrison 1911 4.25 employs a set of traditional, low-profile three-white-dot iron sights dovetailed into the slide that did not disappoint on the range.

One nine-round magazine is included with the Garrison 1911 4.25 chambered in 9 mm Luger. (The .45 ACP model has a seven-round magazine.) Since it’s a single-stack gun, the capacity is not as high as other guns in this segment, but the Garrison 1911 4.25 has aftermarket magazines available, including flush-fitting 10-round ones from Wilson Combat and Chip McCormick.

Both Garrison 1911 4.25 pistols are attractive, sporting a smooth, matte finish on the rounds of the slide and frame, with the look further enhanced by polished flats that draw out the luster of the carbon or stainless steel.

AT THE RANGE

After receiving the gun and giving it a quick lube, I was off to the range. I began outdoors with a Bianchi-style falling plate rack at 10 yards and, after getting acquainted with it, I was knocking down steel with ease while drawing from a concealment holster. Cleaning the plate rack was a simple chore. Later, I decided to stretch out the Garrison 1911 4.25 on a USPSA cardboard target at 50 yards, which resulted in more hits in the A-zone than in the C-zone. While I didn’t push the limits of the gun at a longer distance, the Garrison 1911 4.25 certainly has the chops to go beyond 50 yards.

Garrison 1911 4.25 stainless steel
Common to the blued carbon steel and stainless steel Garrison 1911 4.25 variants are low-profile iron sights, traditional barrel bushing assembly, left-side-only thumb safety and checkered thinline wood grips. Both also have a match-grade stainless steel barrel. (Photo by Peter Fountain)

 

The first thing I noticed after shooting the Garrison 1911 4.25 is that muzzle rise is minimal, especially in comparison with a polymer gun. In the hands, the Garrison 1911 4.25 feels solid, as a gun built from forged steel components should. The checkered, thinline wood grips with a double-diamond pattern are as functional as they are handsome—and worthy of wearing Springfield Armory’s double-barrel logo. Also, this gun doesn’t jump like you might expect from one with a shorter barrel. The heavier weight of steel mitigates recoil well, despite the more diminutive size. With its smooth trigger and match-grade, hammer-forged barrel, this pistol is a joy to shoot, especially fast.

To evaluate the accuracy of the Springfield Armory Garrison 1911 4.25 chambered in 9 mm Luger, I chose five different factory loads, including two from Federal—Syntech Training Match 124-grain and Federal Syntech Range 115-grain. Both Federal offerings are total synthetic jacket loads. Along with the Federal options, I went with Fiocchi Range Dynamics 147-grain full-metal jacket load, Hornady’s Critical Defense 115-grain that has the company’s FTX (flex tip expanding) bullet and Winchester’s Defender 147-grain jacketed hollow-point load.

As you might expect from high quality factory ammo options paired with an excellent trigger and barrel combination, all the loads that I tested provided superb accuracy. At 10 yards from a rest, each load punched at least one five-shot group measuring less than one inch, as well as five-group averages topping out at only 1.7 inch. The Garrison 1911 4.25 liked Hornady’s Critical Defense 115-grain FTX load the best with a 1.26-inch average group size, but Federal’s Syntech Range 115-grain TSJ cartridge boasted the best group of the day with one measuring in at 0.818 inch. With good ammunition, this gun is no slouch in the accuracy department.

ACCURACY TABLE

Garrison 1911 4.25 accuracy table
Accuracy testing was conducted indoors from a 10-yard sandbag rest. Results are averages from five, consecutive five-round groups measured center to center. Temperature 67° F. Humidity 51%. Abbreviations: FMJ (Full Metal Jacket), FTX (Flex Tip Expanding), JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point), TSJ (Total Synthetic Jacket).

 

BOTTOM LINE

In closing, the Garrison 1911 4.25 pistol is a classic take on the venerable 1911 in a reduced size with plenty of upgrades that give it a custom feel at an affordable price.

During my evaluation there were no malfunctions of any kind after firing about 500 rounds through it.

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY GARRISON 1911 4.25 SPECIFICATIONS

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY GARRISON 1911 4.25 SPECIFICATIONS

 

MSRP for the Garrison 1911 4.25 pistol is $868 for the blued carbon steel model and $917 for the stainless steel model. If you’re in the market for an everyday carry 1911, you would be hard-pressed to find a better bargain than this one. Learn more at springfield-armory.com.

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