SHOT Show Preview: Springfield’s New Lightweight 9mm EMP Gov’t/Commander Hybrid 1911

As many readers will know, Springfield has wasted no time in 2016 with a salvo of daily launches of new products in the first quarter of the year. Today, January 16, Springfield officially unveiled its new EMP.

Springfield was kind enough to send James of TFBTV a pre-run sample so he could get some trigger time with this new gun and record a brief, hands-on segment before SHOT Show.

The press release is below. Special thanks to Springfield for sending us this (and several other!) 1911s to try out before they actually hit the market. Keep your eyes on TFB, as more surprises from Springfield are on the way!

Springfield Armory® Adds New Enhanced Micro Pistol (EMP)

GENESEO, IL, January 16, 2016 – New for 2016, Springfield Armory® presents a dramatic improvement to the EMP®, arguably one of the most popular and shootable pistols ever. Perfectly proportioned extensions of length and height make the new EMP® four-inch Lightweight Champion™ easier to shoot while adding ammunition capacity.Springfield Armory® engineered the original EMP® with an all-new patented short action. Seventeen parts later, the EMP® came out a smaller, more comfortable, and more concealable package optimized for the smaller 9mm cartridge. Among the community those who know, it has earned a reputation for controllable concealability.

The all-new EMP® offers a longer four-inch barrel that presents a longer sight radius and simplified practical accuracy. Depending on specific ammunition choice, the extended barrel length will also add an extra 20 to 60 feet per second of muzzle velocity. That helps premium self-defense ammunition perform up to its designed potential. Springfield Armory® CEO Dennis Reese notes, “While the original EMP® three-inch models are surprisingly easy to handle, we wanted to continue to make it better. The extra weight up front on the new four-inch model not only helps dampen felt recoil, it helps control muzzle flip, allowing shooters to complete faster and more accurate follow-up shots.”

The frame height has also been carefully increased with similar proportions. The new grip allows plenty of room for a solid two-handed hold, even for shooters with larger hands. While the original EMP® 9mm held nine rounds in the magazine, the new four-inch model fits ten plus one in the chamber. The new model retains the same slender grip circumference that made the original EMP® so popular. Like the original, the EMP® four-inch sports slim-line Cocobolo wood grips and two-tone forged 416 stainless steel slide and 7075 black anodized aluminum frame. A fiber optic front sight and two-dot, low-profile combat rear sight for effortless target acquisition.

Value added extras like the proprietary Springfield Armory® Posi-Lok™  texture on the front of the grip frame are included at no extra cost as is the matching texture on the mainspring housing.

“It’s an elite quality pistol,” explains Reese.  “regarding size, this EMP® four-inch is one of the smallest on the market.  The four-inch slide allows for a more user-friendly experience while the  smaller grip maintains the optimal size for concealed carry.”

While the EMP® four-inch might be the perfect carry gun, it’s new size makes it ideal for home defense, fun at the range, or a little friendly competition.

James Reeves

James Reeves is a licensed and practicing concealed weapons instructor, the winner of Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, a graduate of Front Sight, the Shooter Performance Institute, and Tier 1 Group, and is an Appleseed-qualified Rifleman. James previously owned and operated a gun shop in Tallahassee, FL and worked as a regional sales representative for distributor/importer, Interstate Arms Company. He is a coverage litigation attorney by day. James likes traveling with his wife, boating, America, photography, guns, gear he doesn’t really need, cold beer, and a little exercise here and there (James is also GORUCK Tough). Above all, James enjoys creating content for TFBTV. Follow James on Twitter @jjreeves.


  • TechnoTriticale

    Does it use the existing EMP grip panel screw spacing?

    If not, it may once again be years before a LaserGrip is available.

  • Mitch

    Pants… Too tight… Man bulge staring right at me, like he’s smuggling a plum and hot dog under those trousers. This can’t be ignored, people…

    • iksnilol

      All about them female viewers.

    • Sgt. Stedenko

      I didnt have any problem focusing on the gun being reviewed.

    • Tassiebush

      I didn’t notice but this seems appropriate

  • pithy

    One of these days, Springfield will have a design that isnt a 1911 or the gun equivalent of a Japanese captive import. Or…probably not.

  • Lance

    Making a 1911 9mm is blasphemy!!!!!

    • maynardb

      And a 2-tone ‘1911’ should be black above, silver below.

      • 2ThinkN_Do2

        Good thing we don’t all think the same; I like the black on the bottom, like my EMP G10 40. Wish it were all black, but they don’t make them that way and I don’t feel like spending the money to change the look.

    • TexTopCat

      9mm is OK, .40 is blasphemy

      • 2ThinkN_Do2

        It’s called Freedom, what the USA is all about . . . . . well at least it used to be . . .

  • ExMachina1

    Nice review. I’m impressed that you ended up buying it! That says a lot right there.

    Now as a counter point, I must say that I *am* a “1911 guy” and *I*don’t see how the rest of you put up with the slide stop on modern guns being right above the grip. That’s where my thumb sits and on on those guns I seem to get lock back on last round about 50% of the time. JMB knew what he was doing 🙂

    • Bill

      I shoot them all, with a thumbs-high grip it’s a non-issue. I also try not to shoot the gun to where it’s empty, so maybe that makes it more of a non-issue for me.

  • Marcus D.

    So it is a Colt Commander in 9 mm. I have no problem with that, being as I am fond of small 1911s. But 31 oz is not exactly “light weight”. My 4″ Kimber in .45 with an aluminum frame comes in at 27 oz. unloaded. (Maybe the extra mass is in that bull barrel they threw in there so they would not have to redesign the slide, i.e., I suspect that the outside diameter of the barrel is the same as a .45.) Still, I’d buy one except for the high price–and the fact that this will not make the California roster. Maybe my daughter in Ohio will get rich and send me one.

    • The EMP series was originally designed around the .45 GAP, but given the lack of commercial appeal for the latter cartridge, they wisely decided to chamber it for 9x19mm and .40 S&W instead. As a result, the EMP’s frame and slide are only shorter front to back across the magazine well. Other than the trigger, magazine, firing pin, and extractor, the remaining internal parts should interchange with Springfield’s equivalent models in .45 ACP or .38 Super.

      Here are Springfield’s patents for the EMP series:

  • MrPotatoHead

    Way to point a loaded gun towards your face there, James.

  • Joe

    I want to see a pic of it side by side with the new Kimber Micro 9.

    • The Kimber Micro 9 will likely be smaller than even the original EMP.

      • Joe

        Just to compare asthetics.

      • 2ThinkN_Do2

        Micro 9 will compete with the Sig P938, the EMP 4 competes with the Kimber Pro size guns. The EMP 4 actually weighs more than a Super Carry Pro 45 by 3 ounces; the Kimber is .2 inches longer and still carries 8 rounds.

  • Siccnes

    Saw EMP and thought a new projectile had been invented. Instead just another 1911.. :/

  • schizuki

    I just bought a 9mm Star Super B for sh*ts and giggles. I’m impressed as hell with the improvements they made to the 1911. If Springfield wants my money they can build me a Star in .45 ACP.

    No grip safety, no plunger tube, a Hi-Power locking system, pivoting trigger, simplified takedown with a takedown lever and slide/barrel/recoil spring as one unit, a nicely-shaped hammer tang, and a nice little M9-style kickout at the bottom front of the grip frame. An impressive simplification and refinement of the original.

    • iksnilol

      If you think that is impressive, you should see the STAR MEGASTAR.

      Also, the Super B can be gotten for liek 250 USD with two mags. Just saying.

      • Anonymoose

        Yep. I got one too. I would have gotten another, but AIM sold out entirely right after that.

    • Old Vet

      I have a Star Super M in .380 and I love it. I saw recently that some mfg. has bought the rights to build some of the old Star lineup. Maybe they will be on the market soon.

      • ChiefBoring

        I have a Star BM steel frame 9mm which previously served in the Spanish Navy. It’s pretty much a smaller frame 1911 wothout a grip safety. It now has a pair of maple grips made for me by a man in Louisiana. They are a little thick for my small hands, but can be sanded down to fit. I like it, and the grips.

  • I never really understood 9mm 1911’s…

    • Anonymoose

      All-steel 9mms have nearly imperceptible recoil, and 1911s are extremely comfortable to hold. Put the two together and you have a darn good target gun.

  • What’s up with the terrible grip James? It looks like some messed up thumbs down revolver grip with your support thumb over it.

  • Nicks87

    James, mic up Jacque we want to hear what he’s saying. Otherwise great video like usual. You are the reason my wife watches gun videos now. Thanks!

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Hmmm, guess it all depends on the shooters hand size. I have the current EMP and if anything it’s a bit too big and a wee bit on the heavy side for a gun of its’ size. I realize everyone wants a piece of the pie, but I’ll go for a Kimber Super Carry Pro or Pro HD series before this.

  • El Mac

    You can’t “stand 1911s”??? WTF is wrong with you? And by the way, that is NOT a full size frame…it is an EMP frame.

  • Joe

    Could we get measurements for trigger reach and grip circumference?