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First Look: Springfield Armory Emissary 1911 Pistols

Springfield Armory has been a cornerstone of the production 1911 industry for a long time, and its designs have always been well thought out and practical; the new Emissary is all that, plus a lot of sex appeal.

First Look: Springfield Armory Emissary 1911 Pistols

The new Emissary from Springfield Armory shoots as good as it looks. (Photo courtesy of Handguns Magazine)

Springfield Armory describes the new Emissary 1911 pistol as a blend of defensive and custom, and one look tells you there’s a lot of that going on here. For starters, the slide is a tri-top instead of rounded, giving it a racy appearance. This aesthetic is enhanced lightening cuts in the top of the slide, but unlike some such cuts, these don’t actually go all the way through the slide. They almost look like flat-cut slide serrations, but they’re on the angled flats of the tri-top and not the sides.


The top of the slide is flat and serrated for glare reduction, a practical and good-looking touch. For the Emissary Springfield went the Tactical Rack U-Dot sights. Tactical Rack allows you to use the rear sight to rack the slide on a flat surface or sturdy belt in an emergency, and the U notch in the rear has a white outline. The tritium/luminescent front is definitely a top choice for defensive use in every light condition.


Inside the slide is a bull barrel with a concave crown and fits flush with the slide. Did I just say “flush fit”? Yep. This is one of Springfield’s few production guns that doesn’t employ the traditional bushing setup. And it’s got a one-piece full-length guide rod to boot.

Springfield Armory Emissary 1911 pistol
The tri-top slide has lightening cuts in the front, and the pistol has a bull barrel/no-bushing setup. (Photo courtesy of Springfield Armory)

The slide is forged carbon steel and the stainless-steel frame is forged as well. It gives the gun a two-tone look like the Springfield Ronin Operator has. But whereas the Ronin’s frame was smooth on the frontstrap, with the Emissary you get “grenade pattern” serrations on the frontstrap and the mainspring housing—adding to the pistol’s bold appearance. The VZ Thin-Line G10 grips continue the grenade theme, thanks to a variant of VZ’s “Frag” pattern on the stocks.

Springfield Armory Emissary 1911 pistol
Both the blued steel slide and stainless frame are forged steel for longevity and dependability. (Photo courtesy of Springfield Armory)

The gun also features an accessory rail for lights and lasers, a squared-off trigger guard and a skeletonized hammer. The trigger is a solid body with a flat face. Currently available only in .45 ACP, it comes with two eight-round magazines.

Springfield Armory Emissary 1911 pistol
The Frag-pattern VZ G10 grips and “grenade pattern” serrations give the pistol a bold look and keep the gun anchored in your hand. Sights are Tactical U-Notch. (Photo courtesy of Springfield Armory)

Handguns will have a full review of this gun in an upcoming issue, but I had the chance to run several magazines through one today, and the Emissary shoots every bit as good as it looks. The serration pattern on the frame and mainspring, combined with the VZ grips, keeps the gun anchored in your hand. At a suggested retail just under $1,300, the Emissary is a ton of gun for the money—one that will be turning heads at the range and ready to tackle any defensive job you could ask of a handgun.

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