Without a doubt, Springfield Armory came late to the dance with a sub-compact .380 handgun. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t know the dance or came with a new and faster two-step dance. Under review today is the new 911 from Springfield Armory.
Back When I Carried a .380 Pistol
Many years ago, when I was a young private investigator back in the Windy City of Chicago, IL, I carried a Walther PPK/S .380 stainless steel pistol in a shoulder holster. It was very chic to say the least. Back then, the only ammo available was Full Metal Jack (FMJ), and it wasn’t known to be a manstopper round. It still isn’t, in my book. Before some time passed, I found myself carrying a snubbed nosed .357 Mag revolver. (Even back then, you could teach me a new trick, as hard-headed as I was as a young man.)
A .380 Caliber Handgun for Self Defense
Even today, I still don’t recommend any .380 ACP caliber handgun as a main handgun for self defense. Now, with that said, I can certainly see where sub-compact handguns chambered in .380 ACP have their place in a self-defense roll. This is because of their very compact size and the advent of improved bullets that are better at stopping the bad guy.
When I worked several undercover cases as a private investigator, I often carried nothing more than a little .25 ACP handgun loaded with FMJ ammo, because it was very easy to conceal. I’m sure glad I never had to use it though. So, small(er) caliber handguns do have their place for some uses.
Sub-Compact .380 ACP Handguns
Sub-compact .380 ACP handguns have been all the rage the past 8-10 years with the concealed carry crowd. It’s because they are not only easy to conceal and light-weight. Many are made out of a polymer substance for the frame. I carry a .380 ACP in an ankle holster as back-up to my main carry gun. So, you see, as I stated, these little sub-compact handguns do have their place in the world of self defense.
No Handgun Is Ideal For Self Defense
Let’s keep in mind that no handgun, no matter the caliber, is the ideal choice for self defense. We carry them because they are easier to carry than a high-powered rifle. Statistics prove that most handgun calibers don’t have a high rate of one-shot stops. This means that it takes more than one shot to stop an aggressive, deadly act from a bad actor. And, the smaller the caliber, the more shots it might have to take to stop a bad guy. That’s just common sense!
The 911 .380 ACP From Springfield Armory
I must admit that, I wasn’t going to review the new 911 .380 ACP handgun from Springfield Armory. However, I received quite a few requests from some long-time readers, so I requested a sample. I’m glad I did. You see, the 911 isn’t like so many poly-framed sub-compact .380 ACP handguns. Instead, it is a single-action pistol, similar in operation to a 1911 handgun. At first glance, it looks like a miniature 1911. It really does. The trigger is single-action, just like on a 1911. However, the trigger doesn’t slide back and forth like those on a genuine 1911; instead, it pivots. But it is a very short trigger pull, which makes for more accurate shooting.
Many of today’s sub-compact .380s are striker-fired, and as such the trigger pull is long and heavy, making your shots harder to keep on target. Not all sub-compact .380s are like this; however, many are. As most shooters know, the smaller the gun, the harder they are to shoot. Then, we have the itty-bitty sights on most sub-compact handguns. Some I can’t see with my aged eyes, because they are so small.
A Closer Look at Springfield’s 911
So, let’s take a close look at the Springfield 911. First of all, as already mentioned, it is chambered in .380 ACP and has a full-recoil spring/guide set-up. It also has very usable sights– front and read. (I’ll have more on this shortly.) The gun weighs in at 12.6 ounces, so it is a very light-weight piece to carry all day long. The slide is stainless steel, but some models come with a black Nitride coating. There is also a loaded chamber indicator. The barrel length is a mere 2.7 inches long. Its grips are super-slime G-10 with a nice pattern that will keep the gun in your hand under recoil. The frame is 7075 T6 anodized hard coat aluminum, and there is what Springfield calls their “Octo-Grip Texture” pattern on the front strap. It’s very nice, indeed and is also on the mainspring housing as well. There is an extended ambi-thumb safety. The gun comes with one 6-rd mag that is flush fitting and one 7-rd mag that is extended.
Trigger and Slide
I wanted to mention the trigger, as noted. It pivots and is manufactured by Hogue Grips, the world famous handgun grip maker. The pivoting trigger is made out of G-10. This material was once the domain of custom knife makers for handle material. It is almost bullet proof; it’s very tough stuff. To my knowledge, Hogue is the first to use this material for a trigger. We have a slightly extended grip frame, so the speed hammer doesn’t bite the web of the hand. The slide has CNC cut reverse angles on the sides at the rear of the slide/side that allows for a sure grip with chambering a round. And then there is the massive extractor that will extract the toughest empty cases as well as chambered loaded ammo.
As to the sights, they are sights that can be seen by the shooter. They stand out, which is excellent! The front and rear sights are produced by Ameriglo Pro-Glo. They have green Tritium on the front sight inside of a yellow luminescent circle and a tactical rack U-notch rear sight with Tritium inside of it with white luminescent circles. These sights are extremely fast to pick-up under any and all lighting conditions. These are some of the best handgun sights I’ve ever used, period!
Safety and Mags
The ambi-safety snicked on/off with authority and were not sloppy in the least. Very nice job on this, Springfield! The two magazines that came with the gun– the 6-rd mag doesn’t give the shooter a full/firm grip on the gun. I see Pearce Grip coming out with a pinky catcher mag floor plate in short order. Now, the 7-rd extended mag, this is the mag to carry in the gun. It only extends the mag ever so slightly beneath the mag well, but it is just right for a much better grip on the 911. Until such time as someone like Pearce Grip comes out with a mag pinky catcher, I would carry the slightly extended 7-rd mag in the gun and reserve the 6-rd mag as my spare mag.
Trigger pull was right at 5-lbs, not sloppy in the least, but it takes a little work to get used to it because it pivots, unlike a trigger on a 1911 that slides back and forth. Still, this is one of the absolute best triggers I’ve used on a sub-compact .380 ACP handgun. The slide stop/release and magazine release were easy to reach and manipulate, too. What’s not to like here?
Ammo For Testing
I didn’t have a huge selection of .380 ACP ammo on-hand for testing, for the simple fact that my wife and I don’t shoot a lot of .380 handguns these days. However, I feel I had a fair selection of .380 ACP to give the 911 a good work out. From Black Hills Ammunition, I had their new 60-gr HoneyBadger round, their 90-gr JHP, and 100-gr FMJ. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition, I had their 90-gr JHP standard pressure round, 100-gr Hard Cast FN, and their 80-gr Barnes all-copper hollow point TAC-XP +P round. This was enough different types of ammo for a fair test. In all, I fired 300-rds through the little 911 without any malfunctions. The gun was inspected and lubed at the start of my shooting, too.
Accuracy testing was conducted at 21-feet, and this is a fair distance for a sub-compact little gun like the 911, with a sleeping bag placed over the hood of my Jeep Wrangler and used as a rest. I was easily able to keep all shots inside of two inches or less with all the ammo. There was no clear winner, when it came to accuracy. If I did my job, the bullets went where I wanted them to go. What’s not to like here?
It would be a toss-up as to which round I would carry in the 911 for self defense. I’m very partial to the new Black Hills 60-gr HoneyBadger round, because it doesn’t depend on expansion to do the job. The solid copper bullet design does the damage. Then we have the Buffalo Bore 80-gr Barnes all-copper hollow point TAC-XP that is rated +P. It’s a very outstanding round. However, I would restrict this hot +P round to self defense use only and not use it for practice. It will accelerate wear and tear on the little 911.
Yes, Springfield Armory is late to the sub-compact .380 ACP dance, but they didn’t rush right out and produce a sub-compact, like many makers did. Some are very much like the others that are produced by other makers. Instead, Springfield took their time and really did-up the 911 right, if you ask me. And, quality never comes inexpensive. Full retail is $599 on this little 911. And they are in very short supply for the very near future, too. But it will be well worth the wait, if you can’t find one right away.