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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.