Springfield Armory EMP – Review


Springfield Armory emp PI9209LP_2

Do you need a 1911 designed specially as a carry gun?

You like 1911 pistols, and you want to carry one for self-defense, but they are large, bulky, and heavy.  Subcompact models exist but do little to reduce size or weight, and often don’t perform as well as their full-size counterparts.  Rather than settling for a 1911 carry gun you don’t want, Springfield Armory has crafted one you’ll love – the Springfield Enhanced Micro Pistol.



The Springfield EMP is a unique entry for the 1911 carry market.  It is not just a scaled down model of a massive 1911; it is a standalone model.  Introduced in 2007, Springfield designed this model specifically to be the one of the smallest and lightest carry 1911 you could have.

The overall scale of the EMP is shorter than a standard 1911.  Why is this important?  The standard 1911 was designed to be a full-size pistol.  Many subcompact variants are not as reliable, comfortable, or accurate because they were never intended to be that small.  Because the EMP was designed around the shorter scale, it is much more comfortable to handle, more comfortable to shoot, and more reliable than any “cut down” 1911.  Other important features include:

  • Lightweight Frame – The EMP also much lighter in weight than steel frame 1911s thanks to its forged aluminum frame.  If you carry this pistol for any length of time, you can certainly appreciate that!  The unloaded gun only weighs 27 ounces, and its thin design aids in concealability.
  • Low Profile Night Sights – Night sights are a must for any defense pistol as most confrontations take place at night or in low light areas. The three dot sights are quick to pick up and make for accurate shooting. The low profile design makes for a faster draw with less chance of snagging on your holster.
  • Extended Ambidextrous Safety – Not only does the extended safety allow for more comfortable use, but it is also lefty friendly.  And if you ever find yourself in a situation where your steady hand has been injured you will still be able to operate the safety on the EMP without issue.
  • Extended Beavertail Grip Safety – The extended beavertail on the grip safety adds comfort and control to the EMP. While not as large as a full size extended beavertail, it is large enough to improve the ergonomics of the pistol and make it easier to shoot.
  • Increased Capacity – The EMP is available in both 9mm and .40 S&W. While a typical subcompact 1911 holds six rounds of .45, both available calibers offer increased capacity.  The .40 S&W model can hold 8+1 rounds, while the 9mm holds 9+1 rounds – plenty of firepower for any situation.
  • Angled Front and Rear Slide Serrations – The slide serrations on the Loaded 1911 have a more modern, angled design to fit your hand better than the traditional vertical serrations. They are slightly wider with a more aggressive texture for effortless control.  Serrations have also been added to the front of the slide to provide the shooter with more options in manual slide control.
  • Lightweight Hammer – A major improvement over the traditional spur style hammer, the lightweight hammer found on the Loaded 1911 is rounded off to reduce sharp edges. Overall mass has been reduced to provide a quicker hammer fall allowing the pistol to be fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled.
  • Lightweight Trigger – Like the hammer, the overall mass of the trigger has been reduced. It has a short travel and crisp reset, which is excellent for accurate shots and for staying on target during rapid fire shooting.



  • Caliber – 9mm/.40S&W
  • Height – 5″
  • Length – 6″
  • Weight – 27 oz. (Without magazine)
  • Magazine Capacity – 9 Rounds (9mm)/8 Rounds (.40 S&W)
  • Slide Material – Forged Steel
  • Frame Material – Forged Aluminum Alloy
  • Finish – Black Hardcoat (Slide available in Black or Satin Stainless finish)



  • Size - The biggest advantage the EMP offers over other subcompact 1911s is the size. It is one of the smallest 1911s available on the market today, and if you must have a 1911 as a carry gun, you'll be hard-pressed to do better than the EMP. It is effortless to conceal.
  • Weight - The reduced sized and aluminum frame greatly cuts the weight down over other small 1911 options. While subcompact 1911s will never be as light as polymer frame pistols or revolvers, the EMP's weight is light enough to be comfortable while providing a stable shooting platform with little in the way of recoil for its size.
  • Reliability - One of the biggest issues with 3" 1911s is that they were never intended to be that small - since the EMP was specifically designed to be the size it is, and is not a chopped down full-size pistol, it is incredibly reliable. Users should feel confident and safe choosing the EMP as a carry pistol.
  • 1


  • Price - All the features the EMP has comes with a price tag the MSRP is around $1300. Many people may have an issue with spending that kind of money on a pistol that is designed solely to be a carry gun and nothing more. You can definitely have fun shooting the EMP, and need to train with it before carrying, but it wouldn't be my first go-to pistol at any of my fun range sessions.
  • Carry Options - Since it is a unique build there are not as many holster options for the EMP as there are for other 1911s. The frame is enough smaller that it may not fit all standard 1911 holsters properly. Keep this in mind if you like to carry in several different methods as you may have a hard time doing so with the EMP.
  • Accessories - Again, the unique build of the EMP means the aftermarket accessories for the pistol are quite limited. The magazines are proprietary, the grips are thinner than standard 1911 grips, and most of the other parts are unique to the gun as well. Aftermarket grips and other parts are available but not nearly in the quantity as other 1911s.



Springfield Armory EMP PI9209L


If you’re looking for a unique 1911 carry gun, the EMP should be on top of your list.  The EMP is very compact and is comfortable to shoot.  The increased capacity over .45 is a bonus for a defensive pistol, and the thinner profile and light weight make this one of the easiest 1911s for concealed carry on the market today.  While it is expensive, you’re getting a very high-quality pistol designed do to one thing – be carried – and it does it exceptionally well.  When it comes to protecting yourself and others, the EMP will get the job done.