When I heard that Springfield Armory® was building a .380 caliber pistol, my first thoughts were, “This will be interesting - And I can’t wait to shoot it!“. But as I started thinking more about it, I had a lot of questions:
- Would it be designed with a polymer frame or if it would be made of a different material, like steel or aluminum?
- How obnoxious would the recoil be?
- And would it be hard to hold onto?
My questions were quickly answered, as I was called soon thereafter to do a photo / video shoot with the .380. Did I ever become familiar with the pistol — and fast!
I can say with confidence and as the person who had originally shot the most rounds out of the gun, Springfield’s first ever .380 caliber firearm — the 911 — is a very impressive little gun. I really like the final design and actually enjoyed shooting it.
AND THE ANSWERS ARE
And to answer my initial questions:
- The frame is made out of … aluminum!
- The recoil is amazingly super light.
- And the G10 thin-line grips make the gun easy to hold on to and maintain control.
Now, I’m not gonna get into the caliber debate (which sometimes seems like the caliber war), but I will note that .380 pistols have had a resurgence over the last 5 to 10 years. I personally believe that it’s a result of more states approving and allowing concealed carry.
Having owned a few pistols chambered in .380 over the decades, I never really fell in love with any of them. My first venture into a .380 was in the late 1980s, and it was a much larger steel-framed gun. Everything was larger in the 80s, right? So, this .380 was a dream to shoot, but again, it was overly heavy for its size, so I didn’t like to carry it.
The .380 caliber pistols I have in my arsenal / collection have only found time as my daily carry when I was wearing a suit and tie, very light clothing, shorts, or was carrying a bag or backpack.
So, with that being said, I bet I haven’t shot more than 50 rounds of .380 ammunition out of my guns, total. Simply because I didn’t have much use for the size of gun in that caliber.
DISCREET, SMOOTH & SAFE
Let’s talk about the gun itself. The 911 .380 pistol from Springfield kind of blends the XD-S® series of pistols with a 1911 pistol. It is a single-action, semi-automatic with frame-mounted thumb safeties.
When I first picked up the 911, I could not believe how light and small it was. I immediately shoved the gun in my front pants pocket and it disappeared. I barely noticed that it was in there.
Ergonomically speaking, the pistol is excellent. I was able to shoot it using my regular grip and it was extremely comfortable. After firing just a few rounds through the pistol, I could not believe how light the recoil was - unlike any other compact .380 I’ve ever shot! Upon shooting literally hundreds of rounds, I felt that the smooth trigger was better than most 1911s. And I've dry fired A LOT of 1911 triggers over the years.
The safeties moved on and off easily enough for anyone to be able to manipulate them, even without much practice, but not so easy that they would inadvertently move off.
BRIGHT, LIGHT & ACCURATE
I also immediately noticed that the sights had a certain glow to them. Usually when looking at tritium night sights during the daytime, I don’t see any illumination, but the sights on the 911 were very bright and easy to see, even with my aging eyes.
I was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy. Now, I’m a pretty fair shot, but I know that many tiny guns suffer when it comes to grouping and accuracy. When I shot the 911 at a distance of 15 yards initially, I was not expecting great results. However, when I saw that I was putting one round on top of the other, I was actually shocked!
Also impressive was the gun's functionality and reliability. By the end of the video session, I had shot about 500 rounds. I shot one specific gun for 2 straight hours and did not have one malfunction of any kind.
911 AS A BACKUP
After spending some time with the 911 from Springfield Armory®, I've grown to really like the pistol. Although I've shot a lot of small, compact pistols over my career, I have been hesitant to recommend any of them. Most have a snappy recoil, which makes the average person struggle to shoot them, let alone shoot them accurately. This is so not the case with the 911.
And with the improvements to much of the personal defense ammunition, a .380 pistol is now a viable option for self defense and EDC.
Now, I will be the first to admit that the .380 caliber pistol is not my first choice as my only self-defense firearm, but I often carry it as a second defensive option. #BackupGun
And for the times I'm not able to carry a full-size pistol (I do occasionally take my lovely bride on a date), a small, compact .380 really fits the bill for me. #DressUpGun
Bottom line - The 911's ergonomics, reliability, trigger pull and accuracy have sold me on having a .380 caliber pistol as a suitable, ultra-concealable, self-defense firearm.