The Prodigy was launched with typical Springfield Armory fanfare. Dozens of influencers flooded social media with "reviews" of the new double-stack 1911 in both 4.25" and 5" variations. Not long after the influencer reviews came those of folks who had purchased the gun and with that came reports of issues. We gave Springfield some time and purchased our 4.25" model in August of 2023 to see if things had been worked out and give the gun a review without hype and popularity tainting the experience.
Why is it cool? The Springfield Armory Prodigy represents a doublestack 1911 available at a price point much more attainable than this category usually demands. By producing at scale, and not leaning an entire business on the product, Springfield Armory is able to offer the Prodigy at a price several hundred, even thousands of dollars less than the custom and semi-custom makers ask. 1911-like shooting experience, but optics-ready and with doublestack capacity. Furthermore, by engaging magazine designer and producer DuraMag Springfield Armory is able to have high-quality magazines that don't require tuning available at a fraction of the cost of other "2011" magazines. Again the economics come from production scale and the manufacturer's survival not depending entirely on a single product line.
Who's It For? If you're curious about or want a doublestack 1911 (we can't say, "2011" as Stacatto has trademarked that term) for carry, home defense, or competition use, but don't want to trade in your kid's car to afford one, the Springfield Armory Prodigy is an option for you. As you'll see in the tabletop video below, it's not as fancy in terms of fit and finish as the more expensive options, but it's also a lot more affordable.
There's no easy way to have a full-length guide rod that's also easy for maintenance. Springfield's end-screw style requires a tool, but is also unlikely to sneak its way loose on the range without being visually obvious and has plenty of threads. Mine was absurdly tight from the factory; be warned that breaking it loose could cause cosmetic damage to the slide and barrel.
BARREL: 4.25" Forged Stainless Steel, Match Grade, Bull, 1:16
SLIDE: Forged Carbon Steel, Black Cerakote®, Optics-Ready
FRAME: Forged Carbon Steel, Black Cerakote®
SIGHTS: Fiber Optic Front, Black Serrated Rear
RECOIL SYSTEM: 2 Piece Full Length Guide Rod
MAGAZINES: (1) 17-Round, (1) 20-Round
WEIGHT: 32.5 oz
Online Pricing as of 28AUG23:
After all the issues reported initially, I was eager to get to the range and see if those complaints were legitimate, or if a more-recent production model would have the issues resolved. I was also curious to see if I would like the Prodigy as much as the slightly-higher-priced BUL Armory SAS II TAC 4.25" we reviewed not long ago. Keeping things fair, the Prodigy was treated to the same protocol we treat all guns including:
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun, on camera, with first thoughts shared.
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun we used the following ammunition:
Priced and linked where found at the time this article was written
50gr+p Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense $31.99 / 20 at Optics Planet
100gr Hornady Critical Defense Lite $23.89 / 20 at Global Ordnance
115gr Sierra Sports Master JHP $6.99 / 20 at Palmetto State Armory
115gr Sig Elite Denfense V-Crown JHP $23.99 / 20 direct from Sig
115gr Wolf Steel Case: $13.77 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
124gr Hornady Critical Duty $22.61 / 20 at Global Ordnance
138gr Federal SCHP $19.59 / 20 at Optics Planet
147gr Remington High Terminal Performance JHP $15.51 / 20 at Global Ordnance
150gr Federal Syntech Action Pistol $21.05 /50 at Palmetto State Armory
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.
You can watch the entire experience including some interesting notes learned while shooting in the Shooting Impressions video below:
How do I feel aboout the Prodigy after some range time? It's not a bad gun. Shooting was pleasant, even with some of the spicier ammunition. The trigger is decent, and sights work fine for defense of competition use. I had no issues with the gun aside from a load or two that it didn't want to eat, but the great thing about ammunition is that there are plenty of other options. I wasn't "wowed" by the gun, but at the same really can't complain about anything either. I did notice that the thinner safeties caused my thumb to drag on the slide if I wasn't careful. This may have contributed to some of the "malfunctions" reported in influencer reviews.
In short, if you've wanted to get into the doublestack 1911 game without spending a ton of money, the Springfield Armory Prodigy is a safe way to go. Personally I like the BUL Armory SAS II TAC a little better, but that gun also costs a few hundred dollars more so it's not a truly fair comparison. There are some Turkish import doublestack 1911s on the horizon, but as they're not yet available in the US we don't know if they'll be any better or what they'll sell for.