Springfield Armory Prodigy 4.25 – 2011 for the working man?

Springfield Armory Prodigy, author’s favorite gun of the year

A dream was long realized with the release of the Springfield Armory Prodigy. The Prodigy is a 2011-style pistol, which in common parlance means a 1911 that happens to use a double-stack magazine. (We can argue semantics here if you like, such as modularity, Para Ordinance double stacks were not 2011’s, and neither are Rock Islands… to most people, a double stack is 2011.) The concept is fantastic. One of the few complaints a man can make about a 1911 is capacity. 2011’s fix that.

American-made magazines, from the legendary Duramag


This still leaves us with all the other things about a 1911 that are fantastic. What trigger, dear friend, is the gold standard for comparisons? 1911. What gun has the best-designed safeties ever built on a handgun? 1911. Ergonomically speaking, what handgun do most people love the feel of? 1911. What weapon was carried by George Patton, John Basilone, and the back-to-back World War champs? Oh, that’s right, the 1911.

2011? Springfield seems to be saying so

As much as the kids might like to talk smack about their combat Tupperware, the venerable 1911 is very hard to beat. The single-action trigger is smooth like nothing else. Even at a lawyer-enforced 5 pounds, it blows the doors off the best striker-fired trigger around. And if you send it out for custom work? 2 pounds is easy, and you can have it tuned up to scary light. Very few handguns can match that.

Green fiber optic front

The Prodigy

And that brings us to our Prodigy. The Prodigy is a mash-up that brings all the best things about a 1911 into the modern century. It retains the stunning trigger (which I will be having custom-shopped lighter), crisp and clean even at 5 pounds. It retains the thumb safety of a 1911, which I prefer on all handguns. And then it pours on all the goodness Springfield Armory’s engineers can find on heaven and Earth.

U-shaped black rear

The Prodigy uses a bull barrel, which adds weight out where you want it. Chambered only in 9mm, that leaves a lot of steel out on the end of the gun. Combined with a carbon steel frame and slide, the Prodigy has some heft in the hand. It isn’t heavy, like a Desert Eagle heavy, but you will know you are holding it.

Frame cuts to allow normal 1911 takedown and safety levers?

Up front is a green fiber optic sight, dovetail mounted. Front and rear cocking serrations are deeply cut, and wide in an aesthetically pleasing way. Is it red dot ready? You betcha. Springfield Armory did something unusual here, but it was the correct answer. Rather than try to develop something in-house, they turned to notoriously good slide sculptors Agency Arms. Agency Arms has made a cottage industry of custom cutting all manner of slides. They developed a new interchangeable plate system for the Prodigy, that accepts optics while maintaining co-witness with rear irons. Out of the box, the iron sights are fantastic, and I would see no point in bothering to replace them.

Safety indicates that is a yes

The grip module, however, is where the real magic happens. The frame is steel, but it is essentially wrapped in a polymer molded grip module. The way this was done yields a relatively thin polymer shell, which cuts down on overall dimensions. The Prodigy is thicker than a 1911, obviously, but it isn’t twice as thick. It feels closer to an XDM in circumference than some 2011’s I have picked up, and that is a good thing. The polymer has a nice grip texture to it, though it could be a bit more aggressive in my opinion. Easily fixed with a stipple job from our friend Mr. soldering iron.

Very nice grip texture


Fit and finish are all fine and dandy, and we could keep going here. But I would rather talk about performance. I was simply floored when I saw the MSRP of $1499 for what the Prodigy brings to the table. That price makes it arguably the best deal in the history of 2011’s, considering that the closest contender is a Staccato P, which starts at $2299 for optic-ready and bull barrel. I am not alone when I say I have been wondering when Springfield Armory would release a double stack, as they are the leader in 1911’s. I never dreamed they would do it under $2000.

a not overly large magwell, the only obvious deficiency the author noted


Does the Prodigy run? Like you wouldn’t believe. Mine has been on the roadshow since it was released, as part of my suitcase of pistols I take with me to the classes I teach. Most of my students are new to guns, and shooting a bunch of them is part of the process for them to pick one. The Prodigy has been a huge hit all around, but is surprisingly VERY popular with female students.

Agency optics plate system

The weight of the Prodigy is just enough to really dampen the recoil of 9mm. Coming off a full polymer gun, many of them cannot believe how flat the Prodigy stays. The heft is well balanced though, yielding a gun that wants to stay on target. For you.

Easily removed for red dot mounting

The shorter length of the trigger, not to mention the overall shorter travel to fire, also has a benefit. It is very quick from decision point to lead on target and a night and day difference in feel from a striker gun. I myself like that it has a safety, which is very much a plus when teaching a noob how to run a gun.

Included red dot plate

I would go so far as to say that the Prodigy could be an excellent, all-around, do-everything gun. With its rail up front, flashlight mounting is no problem. In the shorter 4.25 configuration (5-in also available), it is actually reasonable to carry. And with a capacity of 17 (flush fit) or 20 (extended), it has enough bullets to do any job. Mine has run flawlessly, and it has eaten easily a couple of cases of 9mm by now.

Very tight lockup, visible even when not screwed down


Tactical guns just got a huge upgrade, at a price point we mortals can afford. I strongly suggest putting this one in your arsenal, it’s a decision you will never regret.

Deep-cut front cocking serrations
And rear to match
Front screw is part of the grip removal
Prodigy capturing hearts at the range

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

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  • wesley crume February 14, 2023, 2:59 pm

    I enjoyed the article you gave written….! Thanks for sharing with us. And shame on the “fools” who are poking fun at you, and your article, and the photos. Thank you for your Service also!
    What has happened to people Lately….? What happened to Being Kind, Courteous, and Polite….?
    Wes in Colorado

  • Rich February 13, 2023, 8:02 pm

    Hope you’re able to put a video review together for this also. Good to see one of your write ups again though. 👍🏽

  • Todd February 13, 2023, 7:21 pm

    We need to stop propagating the incorrect magazine loading of a pistols as shown in the final picture. If you are so unpracticed that you have to watch yourself loading the magazine into the magazine-well perhaps one should not be doing online evaluations of pistols for gunsamerica. I did not learn this procedure when in the Marines or when working armed for other government agencies. Plus the empty magazine drops clear much better when gravity is on your side

    • Rich February 14, 2023, 10:45 am

      lighten up Todd, it’s just a review not an operators instruction manual.

  • Pete Migale February 13, 2023, 2:29 pm

    Clay, you put an HK VP9 in two photos!?! Glad your back doing reviews but your videos banging steel etc. are great, add one for this pistol please!

  • Mike in a Truck February 13, 2023, 12:13 pm

    I really like the looks of this pistol.Just not the cartridge. Make it in 45ACP and I’ll buy one…. or two.

  • MeSeaHunt February 13, 2023, 10:06 am

    there is only ONE 1911 caliber and we all know what that is, and what it is NOT as in this story…..
    seems to be some pics are incorrect?
    the author must be enjoying the lack of PT as the abdominal section is LARGER with each story?? 🙂
    way too many other choices out there if you are a 9mm fan imo???

    • Lance February 13, 2023, 1:12 pm

      Pull your head out. The pictures are correct and they’ve been making 1911’s in multiple calibers for years. I seem to remember JMB designing the .38 Super to punch through car doors and body armor. The comments about Clays and sound like you’re stuck in kindergarten. Ex SF operators and high level athletes share this well known problem. When you operate at that level for 20 years and consume the massive calories required, it’s pretty damn hard to transition to a normal life. Clay, thanks for your service, above and beyond.

      • MeSeaHunt February 13, 2023, 4:19 pm

        Ummmmm OK??? Your one of those smart guys that drive around in the car by yourself w/a mask on just because AREN’T YA!!! UNTIL you know the background of the person who you are GUESSING has NO knowledge of things then as I always told my troops(which definitely applies to YOU) “It is ALWAYS better to keep your mouth SHUT and let folks think you are smart rather than open it and remove ALL doubt”!!!
        If you continue to be a keyboard ranger then u/s that you MIGHT not u/s the interpretation that the sender is implying SO keep your fingers off the keyboard unless you are SURE of the intent!!!!!!!!
        AND just so you know(not that I care really) that BS you mentioned about the high carb intake has NOT seemed to affect my gut in civilian life AFTER 22 YEARS in Spec Ops????????????? Put your mask back on now…

  • Eamonn February 13, 2023, 9:56 am

    Where’s the usual video, Clay? It’s always the best part of your reviews.

  • JC Flag February 13, 2023, 9:24 am

    Heads up, Clay. Looks like a couple VP9 pictures got mixed in with the Prodigy review toward the end of the review.

  • RONALD Peterson February 13, 2023, 8:27 am

    Do they Have any of these as “Blemished / Sub parr/ still functional?” , for US Elderly on a Single Income?

  • Ronnie McCallay February 13, 2023, 7:59 am

    In my feeble mind, a true “1911” would be in .45ACP caliber…

  • Joe February 13, 2023, 7:54 am

    A couple of those pictures are of an HK VP9.
    The SA Prodigy does look pretty cool, just not my cup of tea.

  • Patrick February 13, 2023, 6:58 am

    They carried 1911s because Glocks weren’t invented yet…Patton was often pictured with his revolver.

    • Mark February 13, 2023, 8:05 am

      So the military is carrying Glocks now?
      I’m not saying you should or that I even do carry a 1911, but I have a 3.5” .45ACP 2011 and I love the damn thing. It’s just to heavy to carry comfortably so I carry a modified sig 365/365xl combination. I like the gun but I can shoot more bullseye’s constantly with my 2011 and I only shoot that gun once or twice every couple of years so they do work as intended.

  • Paul E Furtaw February 13, 2023, 6:48 am


    George Patton was known for carrying a 1873 Colt Single Action Army, a Smith & Wesson Registered Magnum, a Colt 1903 hammerless, and a Remingtion 51. Having had a 45ACP cylinder made for his 45Colt Model 1873 revolver; due to ammunition supply issues during WWII, that was as close as he ever got to carrying a 1911.

    • Jake February 14, 2023, 9:49 am

      When Patton competed in the Military Pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics, as a matter of principle he used the US Service Pistol while other competitors used target pistols. He felt no soldier was carrying a special match piece into battle and that Pentathlon competitors should use their country’s issue weapon. He lost the Pentathlon due to a lower score with the pistol than the guys using target guns.

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