Gun Review: Springfield Armory EMP

So John Moses Browning is a genius and all that. Robert checked out the 1903 Colt and loved it. But for most gun guys, Browning’s greatest contribution to the world of firearms will always be the 1911. It’s full-size  elegance and extra safety features hits their ballistic sweet spot. Is .45 ACP always necessary? Of course not. Two point five million Glock owners can’t all be wrong. Luckily, those of us who worship at the altar of the 1911 can buy 9mm versions. Yes, but—

A full-size 5” barrel 1911 or even a 4.5” Commander-size 1911 in 9mm leaves you with a lot of extra iron. Kinda like taking a Chevy Big Block and boring it out to 300 cubic inches. So along comes Springfield Armory who unleashes a 1911 chambered in 9mm (you can get .40 S&W too) with a 3” barrel. And according to the company and the specs, the EMP (Enhanced Micro Pistol) is the smallest ‘real’ 1911 ever produced. With that diminutive footprint, chambering 9mm, I thought I found my ideal carry gun. So I bought it . . .

The fit and finish of the EMP is fantastic, right down to the wood grips that are cut on a milling machine. The slide features one of those new fantastic super-coatings that look like aluminum but wears like steel. The frame has been dipped in Springfield Armory’s black hardcoat anodized finish. You would be hard pressed to find the guys at Nighthawk Customs doing better work on the exterior.

And then comes the swag- the nice blue case has foam that is custom fitted to hold the weapon, a cleaning rod, a match-style plastic holster, another holster for magazines, a tool for field-stripping the gun, and couple of top-shelf Mec-Gar magazines. The nine-shot mags are made in the land of Ferrari, proprietary to the EMP. WHich explains why there aren’t any holes for keeping track of the number of bullets loaded.

The EMP has all the 1911 niceties, of course. There’s your extended ambidextrous safety and lightweight trigger, and a beaver-tail grip safety. You also get the same kind of extra that annoys Smith & Wesson purists: Springfield’s Integrated Locking System (ILS). The backstrap mounted key lock freezes the slide and hammer. Does anyone really use these things?

Trijcon nightsights sit atop the EMP. Nothing wrong with that.

The first round I fired through the EMP felt great. I only put one round in the magazine because of the rare chance that the sear on a new 1911 isn’t working right and there is the potential for the gun to runaway on you (i.e. full auto). Squeeze the trigger and bang. Nice. Until I noticed the brass chimney on the top of that beautifully finished aluminum. Motherfucker. Lets try with a mag. I did a little tap-rack, and the next shot had the same problem. Plus the next seven rounds in the mag. I promptly returned to my retailer with my $1200 purchase . . .

Who sent it off to Springfield Armory for repair. You see, I live in one of those communist states that has the serial number of my gun printed on my pistol license. It would be much more of a headache to go back to Police HQ and the ensuing bureaucracy than to deal with Springfield Armory customer service. After all, I was told they are among the best in the business.

At least they lived up to the hype. The dealer took care of all of the shipping details. Springfield returned a tuned pistol with a polished feed ramp. So free Springfield Custom Shop work done on a production model. Bonus!

The next 50 rounds went really smoothly. The EMP is an amazingly accurate weapon. At 25 yards, a carefully-aimed baby 1911 is as accurate as most full-size semis. Beyond that, obviously, not. The recoil is manageable enough to make the EMP a suitable gun for ending a range session, helping to maintain the skills needed to use it effectively.

And then my friend Gene, an NRA instructor, was about to give me a lesson. No more bang. This time, it was the firing pin. I was relieved that Gene was there to attest to the fact that I did nothing to create the problem. Gene handed me his Browning Hi Power. He’d fired 30,000 rounds through it without a hitch. “Buy this next time you want something in 9mm.” Yeah, next time . . .

Back onboard FedEx for another trip to the state of Blagojevich and Obama and all that delicious Heller fighting. At this point, I was an irate customer and told SA to get the pistol running right or keep the damn thing. It turned out to be a metal burr on the firing pin. I scoured the web for similar problems with other EMPs. Nope. Just my luck.

After the gun returned to my care for the second time, I got busy. I’ve put 500 rounds through  the EMP with no more failures. But still, the idea of using the Springfield EMP for an everyday carry gun (why I bought it) still gives me the willies. Perhaps after another 500 rounds at the range I’ll trust my unfaithful companion.

Or maybe not. Maybe John Moses was right when he designed another gun to use the round of the Glocknoscenti. But the EMP is a beauty. Usually this level of fit and finish is reserved for Hollywood Starlets. But just like a Mary-Kate Olsen battling anorexia nervosa, making a 1911 skinny does not necessarily make it good.

If my pistol has to go to Dr. Drew at the clinic in Illinois one more time for treatment, I’ll just disown her on Gunbroker. After all, she ain’t family. She’s only supposed to protect it.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber: 9 X 19mm

Magazines: 3 X 9 round, stainless steel with rubber slam pad

Barrel: 3″ stainless steel match grade, fully-supported ramp, bull

Sights: Fixed low-profile combat rear, dovetail front, Tritium three-dot

Trigger: Long aluminium match grade, five to six pounds

Grips: Thinline Covobolo hardwood

Frame: Forged aluminum alloy, black hardcut anodized

Slide: Forged stainless steel, satin finish

Recoil system: Dual spring, full-length guide rod

Height: 5″

Length: 6.5″

Weight (empty): 26 ounces

Price: $1100 to $1200

RATINGS

Style * * * * *

You just are not getting this level of fit and finish at this price point often. To get better you need the big big bucks.

Ergonomics * * * *

Even comes with an ambidextrious safety selector from the factory. It could be a little diminutive if you have large hands.

Reliability *

But lets add an asterisk to this- mine sucked from the get-go but others have had no problem with the pistol. If you get a good one that always goes bang, this is definitely a four-and-a-half star pistol.

Customize This * *

It comes from the factory with everything that you need. So low stars here is a good thing unless you are a hot-rodder at heart.

OVERALL RATING * * *

Beauty is skin deep. Unless it isn’t. God I hope it isn’t.

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About Brett Solomon

Brett Solomon got his first taste of the magazine world covering car electronics for CarSound & Performance Magazine. He landed the job by being noticed for designing high-end car audio systems. Which was fine by him because there was no way he was going to pass the third level of calculus toward an electrical engineering degree at University of Delaware. Not with those DuPont scholars around campus, he’ll take Journalism over Engineering, thank you very much. He has since written for a number of publications (think in-flight journalism) that lack the chutzpah of Robert Farago, and having all of those milquetoast reviews pent up in his system now allows his pen to spit fire. We’ll, he is just not that mean but happy to tell the truth…and the truth is most firearms are fun!

80 Responses to Gun Review: Springfield Armory EMP

  1. avatarArc says:

    I think I'd go with the 1903.

  2. avatar67dodgeman says:

    +1 on the browning Hi-Power.

    But you bring up an interesting question (of the day?). Once a pistol fails on you (mechanical or otherwise), how many perfect shots does it take for you to trust it again? My range time is limited, plus I mainly supervise the kids while they're shooting, so it might take me several years to put a 1000 rounds through any one pistol. I'm generally lucky to burn through 1 or 2 mags per range session before I turn the gun back over to the young ones.

    My answer – I trust my Colt Python, my Ruger Blackhawk, and my Smith .38 snub. The semi-autos, not so much. They've all failed me at least once or twice, and I just haven't shot them enough to get back to the trust issue.

    • avatarDan says:

      I fully agree as I retired my auto-loaders and went back to revolvers. Its where I started, and very likely where I’ll finish.

      Regards,
      Saber/SaberOne
      DC, S&W & TFL

  3. avatarsnakehunter says:

    I’ve owned my EMP .40 cal for almost a year now. I’ve put several hundred rounds through the barrel with no FTE or stovepipes. As far as looks, fit, finish, design goes.. this handgun is the best I’ve ever owned. At 25 feet I can put 8 rounds in a 4″ circle. Pretty amazing with a 3″ barrel. I very much like carrying the EMP, and trust it as much as you can trust any weapon. As for revolvers, my girlfriend bought a brand new S&W Featherlight .38 special at a gun shop/range. The first 50 rounds fired fine, so she took it home and came back a few weeks later. On this trip, the handgun suffered a catastrophic cylinder jam. The range-master couldn’t free it, and had the shop mail it back to S&W for repair – which they did within 4 weeks.

  4. avatarbocadoc says:

    I have my EMP for a little over a month and have fired 3-400 rounds of all kinds of mixed ammo thru it without a problem. That being said I believe any semiauto pistol can have a problem at any time! One just has to be able to handle the situation. I agree that for the most part revolvers are more reliable and safer to carry but then you are limited by their capacity and their added bulk. When in doubt carry a backup.

  5. avatarTim Bryson says:

    I’ve got an EMP, serial no. 8xx and I fell in love with it before I shot it. I’ve run about 500 rounds through it without a hiccup. Mine’s a 9mm but I plan to buy a .40 as soon as I save up the money. Expensive? Yes, and worth every penny. This is one fine gun!

  6. avatarMark Worrell says:

    I purchased the EMP this week and had to put some rounds through it ASAP so took it to the range and shot steel with it on Tuesday. I put over 300 rounds through my 40 S & W and was very impressed right out of the box. I am shooting my reloads 5.0 Gr. Unique powder, 185 Gr. Precision RN lead bullets with mixed cases.

    I had 3 things happen during my first outing after 200+ rounds I had 2 miss fires (25+ or – rounds apart) each round I bulled the hammer again and let it go on each round and they both fired on the second try, next I had one round that would not chamber even after several attempts, could have been getting dirty at this point or could have missed this round in my G-RX sizing die but this round chambered (hard I might add) in my PX-4 Storm and fired.

    I want to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the quality and workmanship of the Springfield Armory 1911 EMP in 40 S & W and will use this pistol for my close in steel shooting it is very quick on the draw with the small holster that came in the box. I would recommend this pistol as a handy concealed carry firearm and will do this myself.

    I purchased the EMP with the Micarta grips (compressed fiber) and thought they might have been rough on the hands after a number of rounds but can tell you that they are great and help keep the firearm right were it should be when the weapon is fired (very nice addition).

    • avatarBill N says:

      S. A. says in their manual that you are never to use reloads. Maybe that’s your problem?

      • avatarKevin Winters says:

        Most manufacturers say that – a product of out litigious society. If some idiot double charges a round or does something else stupid, it provides the manufacturer grounds to refute any lawsuit. “Our documentation clearly states that our product isn’t to be used with reloads.” When I was handloading my ammo was more accurate, more reliable, and had less variance than factory produced ammunition.

  7. avatarxrey says:

    I like my Browning Hi-Power as well. I was looking to buy the SA EMP, but this review had me thinking twice. I might try it just to see but for everyday carry, I don’t know. I’m still looking for a good and reliable small carry. Now, I might go back and check the CZ RAMI and as reliable as my bigger CZ 75is, it might be a good pair.

    • avatarWill Cushman says:

      You might consider a J Frame S&W like a 442. .38 Special , +P capable. I carry mine with Speer Gold Dots, +P, Short Barrel ammo. I have Crimson Trace Laser Grips on mine and I REALLY like them. Yes, you only have 5 shots but reloading using speed strips is pretty fast after some practice. I carry mine in a good pocket holster and it is comfortable. The best thing is that I can always have it with me. I have two ,45 acp semi autos also on my permit but rarely carry them.

  8. avatarJon Roy says:

    I got 50 rounds through my spiffy new hope-to-carry EMP .40 and the slide stopped running. I couldn’t force it to go, so off we went to see a friendly 1911 guru, Andy. He got it apart and discovered that they didn’t pin the ejector, and it was bent up causing the slide not to go. Then I learned that they DON’T pin them, they use Loctite. These people basically used super glue in a $1200 gun? Reportedly they did this with all the EPM line. Bless Kimber, is all I can say! My Ultra Carry II cost far less and runs good. Maybe it’s the Universe saying I don’t need a .40 but I think I do.

  9. avatarLHS says:

    I bought an RIA C1S compact 1911 .45 for a hair over $400 all told about six months ago. It’s a bit heavy (41 oz, loaded with 7 rounds), but if I keep it cleaned and oiled properly, which I do, it NEVER jams, NEVER fails to feed and is very accurate up to 25 yrds. My only beef is the tiny sights. Several of my friends and family have laid out the big $$$ for Colts, Kimbers, Sigs, SA micros and have all had various feed problems even after altering a weak or limp-wrist grip. I may actually try the SA full size 1911; heard good things about it and my seven year old SA XD40 has never jammed in well over 1000 rounds. Never been keen on any 9mm pistol.

  10. avatarJon Gold says:

    My EMP has never failed and never broken. Neither has my Hi-Power. I feel bad for anyone who spends that much on a pistol to see it malfunction like that. I love my EMP it is one of the most accurate pistols I have ever fired, and the most accurate compact / subcompact. I collect 9mm and while I believe that other full size options, including my Glock 34 give me a longer barrel and more velocity, this EMP drives tacks. I dont plan on selling my p239, or my hi-power, butI carry my EMP.

  11. avatarGauger says:

    I went to the range today to run a box of SW.40 in my M&P. While signing up to shoot I noticed an EMP9 in the rental case. I decided to give it a try. I ran 50 rounds and it failed to fire once and the slide failed to lock open on an empty magazine three times. Looking at the action, it was obviously fouled and dirty. When I returned it to the counter I told them about it and they checked their records and found it was overdue for cleaning. I will say that the accuracy was excelent. I shot at 20′, 30′, 40′ and 50′. I was suprised how well this small gun shot. The recoil was not nearly as bad as other small frame pistols I have fired. I was much faster bringing the weapon back to target after firing than most other pistols I have fired recently. I plan to give it another try after they clean it. I am now adding this one to a short list for my carry weapon once I get my CCW.

  12. avatarjeff wells says:

    i am buying a .40 emp for myself after shooting my freinds 2, yes 2 9mm emps! i don’t know why you would need 2, but each to their own. his 2 emps had 200 rounds put through them with no problems and both guns had never been shot, new out of the box. they may seem to be high priced but the workmnaship is excellent, so is the accuricy. they may be high priced but they were very nice.

  13. avatareric says:

    I’ve had my emp40 for a year and a half now. i’ve shot over 1500 rounds out of it and have had only a few stovepipes and failure to feed malfunfunctions. The emp is a little heavy to carry depending on the weather and clothes. However I carry it as often as possible. Have a sig p290 for backup. The EMP is extremely accurate

  14. avatarTom says:

    Bought an EMP 40 serial number 6XXX. At about 50 rounds the firing pin froze. I took it out and cleaned it myself. It worked okay after that. At about 200 rounds the guide rod/spring assembly came apart. The guide rod went with the bullet somewhere downrange leaving the springs in the gun. I sent it back to SA and they checked it and installed a new guide rod/spring assembly. The gun still stovepipes, jams, fails to feed, or fails to lock open about one round per every 30 fired no matter what ammo I use. I bought this gun for self defense but I wouldn’t trust it on a rabbit hunt. Ruger gets my money from now on.

    • avatarMark says:

      This same thing is happening to me right now.this gun will not eat anything. you also could not hit the ocean with it standing on the beach. very bummed it is in the mail tomorrow.

      • avatarDan Ess says:

        Sad to hear that, I wonder what the issue is? I’ve had my EMP40 for about 3 years now. Every time I pull the trigger it goes bang, ejects the spent shell and reloads. Doesn’t seem to care what ammo I put in it and I don’t clean it after each trip to the range; as I usually only fire between 50 & 100 rounds per trip. To date it has about 1000 rounds through it. It’ll sit for months without being used and then functions just fine.

        • avatarSkull Leader says:

          Ive had my EMP9 for a four years now, and I alternate it with my Glocks for EDC. I put about 1000 rounds through it, both fmj and hollow points. Mainly Hornady Critical Defense. Keep in mind that any 1911 operating system needs to be broken in. I also recommend a ramp job on any firearm. Try this before letting her go. I promise you won’t be disappointed. If all else fails, Springfield has a lifetime warranty. I sent them my 5 inch after working her over and still not hitting my groups. They took care of it in the custom shop and shipped it back at no charge.

        • avatarBob Johnson says:

          Hey Skull,
          Along with the myth of the M16 round being designed to tumble goes the “Keep in mind that any 1911 operating system needs to be broken in.”myth. Both of my Sig 1911s went bang every trigger pull right out of the box and after several thousand rounds have NEVER had any failures to fire, feed, or extract.

  15. avatarbrett says:

    I owned a Hi-Power years back and while it was a nice gun, it didn’t fit me. My eye still lingers on them whenever I see them at a gun show, but I know they’re not going home with me.But back to the EMP… I picked one up as a gun for my girlfriend to use at the range while I punched bigger holes with my Kimber CDP in .45ACP. I’ve since gotten rid of the girlfriend but kept the gun. I’ll admit I prefer the Kimber over the EMP. The Kimber is as close to a tack driver as my eyes and hands will ever allow. But the EMP is very impressive, too.I’ve owned my EMP9 for about 3 years now and I can’t remember ever having a firing issue with it. And I buy just about every type of cheap ammo out there. However, I noticed immediately that it was shooting about 3 inches below POA at 25 feet right out of the box. That was unacceptable to me, so it went back to the factory. They swapped out the front sight and it’s been dead on ever since.

    One small complaint, tho… considering it’s a gun that sells for north of $1000, I was rather annoyed that it didn’t have any front strap checkered, which my Kimber has (along with the underside of the trigger guard). I fixed it with a strip of skateboard tape, which works fine but I’m always a little embarrassed to have tape on a $1000 gun.

    I asked the SA customer service dept what it would cost to have checkering done while the gun was having the front sight replaced. If I remember correctly, it would cost more than $400 (half for the checkering and half for having the frame repainted). That’s just idiotic. So yeah.. it now wears 50 cents worth of skateboard tape.

  16. avatarCaligula says:

    I still don’t understand the love affair with the 1911 in any caliber or size/ configuration. Some folks tell me they love the way it fits in their hand and how it points. However, it feels flat and skinny to me, and I don’t like the grip safety. (I don’t like safeties in general; I think they are superfluous in most modern pistols.) There was a good reason why the military dropped the 1911 back in the 1980′s for a weapon with greater capacity and better reliability.

    I would compare the 1911 and all of it’s clones to the M1 Garand rifle: It was a fantastic rifle for the time period, but compared to modern assault rifles, it’s long, heavy, and lacks round capacity. There are all kinds of folks that love and carry 1911′s. Why then, do most gun enthusiasts not purchase M1 Garands for defense or sport? Why do most purchase AR’s in .556 or .308?

    Perhaps it’s a love of history or simple nostalgia, but I just don’t understand the 1911′s continued and growing popularity. I must be missing something. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

    • avatarMotoJB says:

      Yep…you’re missing something. I had a double stack Para O 1911 that had feeding issues but my other standard Kimber and Colt 1911′s have been flawless after thousands of rounds. The only issue I have with my 1911 style pistols is the mag capacity. Other than this, they are the most reliable and accurate pistols IMO. I can pick up a 1911 without shooting for a year and put all shots almost on top of eachother. I can’t do this with any other pistol I own – H&K USP, SIG, Glock, etc. The 1911 feels like an effortless extension of my hand when shooting. IMO, the 1911 is the best pistol design ever made.

  17. avatarGeorge Bill says:

    Once you realize why the gun had a problem, and address it, you should be done fiddeling with it. My Emp in 40 came from a frustrated owner who fired 50 rounds through it. He claimed all kinds of problems, once we had traded my nice perfect running R1 for it. I spent 2 nights, dissasembling and polishing all small parts, Not rails or firing pin rlated thigs, just signs of metal to metal contact, The barrel, feed ramp bottom side of the firing assembly etc. Cue tips and “maas” german polish, “I use it on everything form refinishing brass fixtures on furniture, to removing the entire coating on a kel-tek, down to a nickel looking mirror finish. Anyway a trip to the range and 100 rounds of mixed fmj, and jhp, without the slightest sign of a problem with all mags. These little shrunk down 1911′s are very tight, and when you shring down a 4 or 5 inch gun to a 3 inch gun, you are bound to have some fitting work ahead. Kimber recommends 3-500 rounds before they will even look at the gun. You are basically seating all of the parts and removing high spots, burs etc. i never saw one run perfect other than fullsize high end 45. out of the box.And never saw one that didn’t require some breaking in before it ran right.
    Two things that needed attention immediatlly were the guide rod came off in my hand on dissembly, Google it, “very common”, the fix is red locktight on the threads, although springfield sent me a new one free of charge, and the rear sight fell off. Again google, shows tis as a pretty common problem, fixed with removal, cleaning residue and red locktiht on.
    You have a small cannon in your hand, all that energy smacking into metal is going to shake things loose. But again, once you address everything the pistol will be better than a new gun, because it’s been hand fitted now.

  18. avatarJesus says:

    I traded my CZ75B+ cash for the EMP 9MM. Huge mistake. I put about 600 round through the EMP with approx 25 FTE’s. SAI said it was a bad extractor which they replaced. I continued to have the same issues after the repair. I loved the size of the EMP, but the CZ75 is what I went back too. I put 2000 rounds through my old CZ and about 400 through the new CZ . I have had no failures of anykind with the CZ75B.

  19. avatarCAT says:

    I’ve had a lot of nice pistols, for around $300.
    But I got tired of malfuntions, so I got an EMP 9mm….for looks, and quality. New out of the box January 2011, went to the range, it went bang once ? Had to rack slide… bang again….then nothing. $1200. for this?? Took it home, cleaned the GREASE out of the gun, then OILED it. Oh, it was 17 degreese outside in Jan.’11. Went back to the range… it worked perfect ever since. I have only one complaint… the wear marks on the frame finish make it look like it’s ten years old! I wonder if SA would do anything about this ?? I think like “cars”…. some are lemonds. Most are good. “CAT”

  20. avatarSkull Leader says:

    I just purchased one because of all the good reviews. I also fell in love with it after holding it next to a Glock 26. I have 1911′s, Glocks and Sig Saur handguns. I specifically wanted this one for CCW carry to replace carrying my G19, only due to the size difference. I pray I don’t have the issues you did, and if I do, I hope it’s before I add it to my CCW. Like you, I love on a communist state that sucks for gun owners. Even for us law abiding citizens that use them for work.

  21. avatarJB says:

    Problems keep mounting… Won’t feed 165 grain (40 S&W) Tonight, the long spring (quick recoil spring) bent after chambering a round. Need to call Springfield tomorrow and look at repairs to the ramp and the spring. Alas, $1006 poorly spent is my opinion right now. Will update after calling Springfield.

    • avatarSkull Leader says:

      I met a Springfield Armorer last Thursday. He said that problem was more common with the .40 caliber vs the 9mm. I would polish the ramp and give it a good cleaning. This should fix the problem.

      • avatarJB says:

        Thanks. I am sending it in for repairs. The folks at Springfield were quite helpful on the phone and want to break the whole thing down to see what would cause such a failure.

        • avatarJB says:

          Sent it in. Turn-around was about two weeks. Springfield replaced all the springs, sent it into the custom shop for a polish, did an awesome job. I’ve put 200+ rounds through it since without a hitch. Springfield customer service rocks!

  22. avatarGOOFA says:

    I purchased my 9mm EMP early in its production in 2007. I had to send it back to SA after a few hundred rounds to have the barrel ramp adjusted to feed the hollow points that I would use as a BUG. Four and a half years later, i just surpassed 4500 flawless rounds with exceptional accuracy. I’m spoiled.

  23. avatarT100C-1970 says:

    I’ve had my 9mm EMP for a couple of years now. I have small hands and despise fat grips and long trigger pulls which I didn’t learn until I bought an XDM in 9mm (a Glock-alike) a few years back.

    I also have a Trophy Match in 45, and the full size Springer in 9 mm. Despite its way bigger kick, I find the trophy match the easiest for me to shoot accurately. I’m obviously NOT a competition grade shooter but at 30 feet I can generally put 5 rounds inside a baseball sized hole with the 45. Both 9mm’s produce a “grapefruit” size coverage.

    I do carry the EMP because of its convenient size and weight. As far as reliability and serviceability of the EMP (now with nearly 1000 rounds) goes: (1) Had a few failures to cleanly eject and feed ESPECIALLY when new and in cold temps (fired 50 rounds last week with (0/0) of that. (2) The little plastic takedown sleeve for the guide rod is a pain to put on and take off (especially when new) (3) the worst problem was the poorly designed ejector which is well known to rotate upward and foul the channel through which it must pass in field stripping and reassembly.

    This required me to send the EMP back to Springfield for service (bad) but on the VERY GOOD side, Springfield prepaid return shipping, pinned the ejector, and got the EMP back to me within 3 weeks — WAY better than the horror stories I’ve heard regarding Ruger and Walther. I figure that have that fix in new pistols now.

    • avatarSkull Leader says:

      Thanks for the feedback guys. I pick up my EMP tomorrow, CA waiting period an all. I’m going take home, breakdown, do a ramp job on it, give it a good cleaning, then take it to the range and put a few hundred rounds thru her! In my line of work I can’t afford FTF or any other errors, so I hope I’m one of the lucky ones with no issues.
      I’ll let you all know how it goes after some range time.

    • avatarSkull Leader says:

      Thanks for the feedback guys. I pick up my EMP tomorrow, CA waiting period an all. I’m going take home, breakdown, do a ramp job on it, give it a good cleaning, then take it to the range and put a few hundred rounds thru her! In my line of work, I can’t afford FTF or any other errors, so I hope I’m one of the lucky ones with no issues.
      I’ll let you all know how it goes after some range time.

    • avatarSkull Leader says:

      Well gents, I just put 400 rounds of federal through my new EMP 9mm. I also cycled 18 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense and 9 rounds of Fiocchi rounds and had no FTF’s! I did polish the ramp after I picked up the EMP yesterday, but the ramp wasn’t bad out of the box. I have to say at 5,10,15 & 25 yards the gun was very accurate. Once I got past 25 yards my groups where not in the 10 ring. They started drifting down and to the left into the 9 & 8 ring, but still on target. You can’t ask for better performance from a 3inch production gun. I’m happy I purchased this gun and look forward to adding it to my CCW.

  24. avatarVal says:

    I was considering the 9mm Kimber Pro carry II and the EMP for my wife, but she has trouble working the slide. The Kimber is stated to require 14 lbs. to work the action. What is the effort for the EMP.Thanks

  25. avatardavid wright says:

    I think that 5lb’s 10oz’s is the trigger pull weight, not the force required to manipulate the slide. It should be around 14lbs to 18lbs, depends on make and model. However, after a 500rd breakin period and cleaning, which is manditory before carring any weapon CCW which your life depends on it! The slide should wear into the frame, thus making it smoother and easier to manipulate. If you get 500rds threw a weapon with no issues, its proven its reliability, I even leave it dirty a few times during breakin, just to see how it will do in real world, but only after cleaning very well when you first receiving it. Never shoot a new firearm before cleaning out the crud from manufacturing and assembly! I was going to buy an EMP 9mm, not so sure now?? A bunch of send backs, not so many, its a great gun….?

    • avatarSkull Leader says:

      I own several other handguns and carried them on and of the job. I purchased the EMP because of its size, weight and I like the 1911 platform. After I picked it up I broke it down, cleaned it and did a ramp job on it. This is a common practice of mine. The next day I took it the range and fired approx 400 rounds thru it. I used 3 different types of ammo, both FMJ’s and HP’s. I had no FTF at all, she functioned flawlessly. It’s a costly gun, but I’m glad I got it. I look forward to carrying it concealed and popping more rounds thru it.

    • avatarSkull Leader says:

      I own several other handguns and carried them on and of the job. I purchased the EMP because of it’s size, weight and I like the 1911 platform. After I picked it up I broke it down, cleaned it and did a ramp job on it. This is a common practice of mine. The next day I took it the range and fired approx 400 rounds thru it. I used 3 different types of ammo, both FMJ’s and HP’s. I had no FTF at all, she functioned flawlessly. It’s a costly gun, but I’m glad I got it. I look forward to carrying it concealed and popping more rounds thru it.

  26. avatarChris says:

    I bought my EMP 9mm last week. I cleaned it, and put 250 rounds of white box through it without one problem!!! Hope this keeps up!

  27. avatarRick Dinwiddie says:

    I bought my emp last month and after cleaning headed to the range. 300 rnds. of wwb and 100 of fed. hydra-shok flawlessly. this is my e.d.c. i cant say enough about this pistol…good luck to all.

  28. avatarMotoJB says:

    Just bought one that went back already for SA’s “Reliability Package” and is apparently bug free. Seller says it runs all ammo perfectly. Let’s hope!

    • avatarLiveFreeAndShoot says:

      I wonder what that reliability package costs…. I like what I see in this gun and I love the 2 SA 1911′s I have now, just really wondering about the percentage of guns that were bad right from the factory…

  29. avatarRandall says:

    In a point of accuracy… (is making me crazy to read it)

    You can NOT bore a big block Chevy to 300 cubic inches.. you could “sleeve” one down to that perhaps but I am pretty sure if you do any boring on one, it will get larger :)

  30. avatarJeff says:

    I got my 9 m emp last week, I have about 300 flawless rounds through it, but more often then not it shoots down and to the left, I have been using reloads. with my kimber pro tle rl I can shoot awsome tight groupings every time so I know its not me, anyone else had this issue?

  31. avatarMike says:

    I bought a used EMP 9mm from a great local shop. I took it home, gave it a thorough cleaning and headed to the range. I had 4 FTE’s within the first two magazines. So I packed it back up, drove back to the shop, and explained what happened. I was a little nervous after having spent just under a thousand dollars. But, the shop owner is also a gunsmith. He took it back to his workroom for about 10 minutes and returned. I went back to the range and fired 150 rounds without a single problem. Since then, I’ve fired over 500 rounds. The only issue I’ve noticed is that if I don’t get the top round seated in the magazine correctly (must click into place), it will fail to load. Otherwise, it’s been perfect and amazing accurate.

    • avatarJeff says:

      I got my EMP about a month ago to have something more than a pea shooter to put in my pocket, and now it has become my all the time carry gun because it is so reliable. I have shot it at least 2000 times and it has never had a failure. I had to knock the rear sight over to the right a little and now for a 3 inch barrel gun it is amazing! I wish my Kimber pro tle rail was so reliable because of its accuracy and stopping power, cant have everything. Jeff…

  32. avatarExNuke says:

    Another new owner since 9/5/12, 9mm, serial in EMP244xx range. Only about 300 rounds through it to date with 1 FTE in the first magazine. I don’t know if SA has finally worked out the new model bugs or what but I couldn’t like it any more. The ejector came pinned on mine so that appears to be taken care of. Most of the reading I have done says the expected life of the “recoil assembly” is 4000 rounds and a replacement costs $35 (it isn’t repairable according to SA). By the time the weather gets cool enough down here in Miss to wear a jacket or sweater I expect to have enough confidence in it for every day carry. Out of the box accuracy was top of the line, I’m shooting better with it than any of my other hand guns.

    Now if I could just figure out how to pull the ambi safety I would detail strip it for a good inspection.

  33. avatarMatt M says:

    “If you get a good one that always goes bang….”

    No matter how many flawless fires I put behind me, that statement would haunt me like the Springfield Horror. There’s just too much at stake to risk getting killed by being one of the unlucky ones to get a lemon. It’s a shame because it certainly is a beautiful gun, but I think I can find better 9mm reliability at that price point.

  34. avatarJacques says:

    I just bought a Springfield Armory EMP 9mm….this is my second SA gun – the first being a 45 caliber TRP which I love. The EMP is a great little gun and terribly pretty…but now, after only having been used once – I’m facing the hassle of having to send it back to the factory which probably means weeks if not months without the gun. They say: “it sounds like the ejector has come loose and not allowing you to disassemble the gun…” – well, for what I paid for it you’d think that would be something they would have quality checked on the factory floor.

    Call this another cautionary tale on Quality Assurance problems at Springfield Armory.

  35. Listen, awesome pistol right! Nice balance & action, beautiful gun. Just point shoot right out of the box…. But price tag will kill you!!! I can see $600 $700 bucks but $1100 $1200. No way!!!

  36. avatarDaniel says:

    Similar to an earlier post above, I rented an EMP9 at a range and also had troubles with it. I was truly interested in buying one, which was the reason for the rental. I am glad it was poorly maintained, it made me skip the purchase of the 9mm model; I instead purchased a 40S&W G10 verison. It has been a wonderful addition except for the grips that were loose after the first 20 rounds. Tightened them up and they have not loosened in the last 300+ rounds. It is quite accurate, but as another post mentioned, the rear sight needs adjustment on mine as well. Shoot about an inch to the left of aimpoint; don’t have that issue with my Kahr MK40, it goes where I aim. Now if I could only be less shaky off hand, I would be a bullseye shooter all the time. I’ll write an update after I adjust the sight and clean er up.

  37. avatarChris says:

    I was having a similar issue with mine….ended up being that when i removed the firing pin to see what was wrong, i found the chamber to be full of metal shavings from the cnc process. once all was cleaned and re-lubed she seems to be in top working order…go figure.

  38. avatarJon says:

    Purchase an EXP 9 a few months back. Two trips back to the factory later and it appears to be running right but I’ve only got 100 trouble free rounds through it at this point out of the 500 I’ve shot to date. Its very accurate. But for those looking for a tinker free dependable defense weapon, this is definitely not it. Buy a Glock and if you want to spend $1,200 buy two Glocks.

  39. avatarGarras Porgratix says:

    For $1200 you should have gotten a nice Glock and a bunch of ammo.

  40. avatarDan Ess says:

    Ask the people who’ve been buying over priced auto’s year after year about perfection out of the box. I’ve experienced issues with a very popular, well regarded brand (Sig) and some popular firearms: S&W BG380, Ruger MK III, Sig P232 and P290; all manufacturers turn out the occasional lemon. My EMP 40 is flawless since the grip screw incident and minor sight adjustment.

  41. avatarfranco says:

    You guy will blast me for this but I can’t imagin why anyone would want this gun at this price. The Sig 938 is more concealable and there ate too many guns that are safer or more reliable. I have had 5 1911s most were colts. If you want a nice shooter for the old 45acp hardball they are fine. If you want a ccw gun get something else. The 1911 is a fashion statement like a Rolex watch. Which by the way needs repairing often. That is why I wear my TAG and carry my Sig.

    • avatarDan Ess says:

      Owning a 1911 is less a fashion statement than owning a SIG or a TAG. The 1911 is a well respected, reliable firearm. Owning a 1911 is like owning a car, branding implies fashion statement and then I would say Baer, Wilson, Christensen. However, the facts in the case of those brands imply they are actually high quality products and not just high priced items like fashion statement products often seem to be. Does Fashion statement belong in the Firearm industry, maybe in some cases, but certainly not attached to the word 1911 in my opinion.

  42. avatarJohnny says:

    I feel your pain. I hate it so much when I buy a gun and it jams, jams, jams. I dont get why companies like this charge so much for a pistol yet they dont already tune it and polish the feed ramp. Why have customers who rely on their guns with their lives have to call and complain?

  43. avatarJJ says:

    Springfield sure seems to have their problems… especially the XD line, but I have heard many EMP sad stories… for the big bucks… that is a big “No Sale” for me… I have a Series I Kimber Ultra CDP and it is sweet… never a failure after 1000 rounds… and throws the big .45 ACP…. THIS is what a high dollar 3″ is supposed to be!

    • avatarDan Ess says:

      Funny that you say that about Springfield vs Kimber. I’ve read plenty of horror stories about Kimbers and heard first hand from many on issues with them; especially 3 inch versions. Never had any one first hand say anything bad about a Springfield 1911 or an XD or it’s many variants. My Kimber 3″ 45 is finicky, but I haven’t proven if it’s the gun, the ammo or me yet. It has good days and bad days. Haven’t had any issues with my EMP 40 caliber.

  44. avatarBill Lentini says:

    Have Kimber CDP II for MANY years. Love it and no problems. Awaiting delivery of SA EMP 40 and hope it serves as well as the Kimber. Seems LOTS of variation on experience with the EMP so hard to sort out who/what the cause. The bottom end though seems that SA will really stand behind their guns. Bought an M-1A 15-20 years ago that did have some feed problems. SA paid to/from; got everything fixed and couldn’t have been nicer to deal with (Lexi). Nice to have NO problems but VERY GOOD to know the manufacturer stands right there with you if you do!

  45. Wow. An $1100 pistol that stovepipes on every round of the first magazine. I will stay with my Rock Island Armory.

    • avatarBill Lentini says:

      Check around – can be had for a lot less than the $1K list, Haven’t put that many through mine – probably a box or two so far – but NO failures to fire/eject. See my previous post – this one comes after getting the EMP.

      Yeah, keep your Rock Island Armory – or many more 1911′s you care to own (nobody says you have to own just one) – but this gun’s a shooter, and a KEEPER!

  46. avatarShawn says:

    CZ 75 man! The best of both worlds!

  47. avatarDan Ess says:

    No doubt, the CZ-75 is a fabulous piece of work. Accurate, reliable, quite easy to maintain and not finicky; if you don’t get to cleaning it as much as you might want to. However, it is not able to be concealed as easily as the EMP. If I were an Open Carry person, I just might carry my CZ-75, but I prefer to CC and the smaller size of the EMP or my Kahr MK series is much appreciated. Granted I do not have the same capacity in my pocket size guns, but I carry 2 spare mags (about 18 Kahr to 24 EMP rounds total). If my neighborhood were unstable I might carry the CZ with it’s higher capacity and a spare mag for it (32 rounds seems quite reasonable).

  48. avatarEli says:

    for everyday carry, hands down has to be a Glock. seriously, there has never been a malfunction, never have to send it back to remove burrs, functions flawlessly every single time you pull the trigger. I have several nice fancy sigs, 1911′s, etc, but when my life is on the line it has to be a glock. I actually hated Glocks, hated the way they look, hated the way they feel in the hand, hated that they are plastic, etc. My wife bought one on her own as her CCW and I figured I would take it to the range and try it out. shoots just as accurately as any other handgun I own. that is saying that these guns are way more accurate than I can shoot, obviously. Ever wonder why 9 out of 10 competition shooter use a Glock? ever wonder why the guy shooting a 1911 in competitions always comes in 2nd to a Glock shooter? why even consider anything else?

    • avatarDan Ess says:

      The only thing I wondered about, was why so many buy Glocks when there are many equally reliable firearms on the market and ones that might just be Made in The USA as well and even fit your hand better and be more comfortable. Even the latest generation of Glocks do not fit my hand comfortably, but no loss here, as my Made in The USA M&P’s have been flawless, feel great and fit my hand like a glove.

  49. avatarSkull Leader says:

    Hi gents, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I will not disagree with you Glock only nuts. I’ve carried G17, G22, G21 on the job and CCW. I’ve also carried a Springfield 5 inch 1911, and a Sig P229. My EDC now vary between my G19, G30 and my EMP9. I’m accurate with all of them, but the EMP is lighter, smaller and fits my hands better than my Glocks and I’m 6’4″, 240lbs. I do trust the Glocks reliability track record though. I’ve been considering the M&P40 or 45c.I like the way they feel in my hand, based on reach they’re equally reliable like Glock but the triggers suck! I customize all my guns to fit my needs so I would have to drop an SAI or Apex trigger in it and change the sites.

  50. avatarMikC says:

    Hey my Glock 19 gen 4 last weekend had 5 failure to fires and is hitting the primer with light strikes on all ammo used. Not sure what is going on but will fix it.

    Anything can happen to anything anytime.

  51. avatarChuck D. says:

    I have owned 2 EMP 40′s. The first fed fine but on the last round fired, the slide would not stay back. (Inherent issue straight from the factory) Needless to say I was upset but not so ready to send it back. After a little investigating I discovered the problem. There is a double sided barrel spring that sits horizontally just above the left grip. One side puts pressure on the safety lever, and the other is for the slide release catch. When the mag is empty, is pushes up on the catch but if the spring pressure is not strong enough, it will fall back down. (actually more of a bounce back down due to the recoil of the gun). Since I have a little Machinist experience, I disassembled the gun and discovered that the side of the spring that gives pressure to the slide stop was not drilled deep enough. In other words it was not protruding enough to give good solid pressure to the slide stop. It was a tedious procedure and one that you could screw up royal if you are not careful. It only needed to be .0002″ deeper. Anyway, it worked. I put several hundred rounds through this gun without another malfunction.

    I would like share some other thoughts in addition to some previous comments. I have learned through the years that if you are having trouble with an automatic, then you need to find the ammo that it likes. That being said, the EMP ate every kind I put through it. I love the heft of the gun because it absorbs some of the recoil from the hot .40. It feels more comfortable in my hand, I feel more confident, and it is extremely accurate. That’s a trade off for the high capacity’s that you have to make the choice over. I have had Glocks too, but it’s just that 1911 feel that the EMP empowers.

    My second EMP .40 seems to be fine but I have not put that many rounds through it yet. As usual, very accurate. 3 inch group at 10 yards.

  52. avatarJames M. says:

    I bought my EMP 9 when they were relatively new, (SN just under 9k), and I had to send it back because it was jamming. They polished the ramp and went through everything and in the past five years it’s preformed flawlessly and it shoots accurately. It doesn’t matter what the product is, there’s always going to be a small percentage that have problems. In the case of the EMP none of the problems listed are due to a design flaw. Springfield could spend the extra money to make sure every gun is perfect before it leaves the factory but it’s cheaper to service the one or two percent that come back under warrantee. It doesn’t seem right but that’s how big business works. Look at the auto manufacturers who do a cost analysis on fixing a potentially deadly design flaw vs. settling a wrongful death lawsuit. I trust the EMP as my personal carry gun. In the extremely unlikely event that it fails in a life threatening situation, I have a pocket knife.

  53. avatarJEFF says:

    I bought a new Springfield EMA 40 for $1350 a bite much but I liked the handgun. I purchased based on a salesman which is never the best idea. I should have read real peoples reviews. The first 8 rounds went through beautifully without a problem. The next several magazines did not go so well. Every 5-6 rounds I fire, was a failure to feed. What a huge disappointment. How can you depend on a weapon that will not fire every 5th round? You cannot. At this price and supposed quality was upsetting. Unless 1000 rounds can go through the gun without a problem I will not use or carry this expensive paper weight. Now, I have to have the weapon repaired. You buy a weapon which you cannot use and have to give it up after a day is a waste of time and money.

    • avatarJames M. says:

      Jeff, don’t give up on a great gun. Just send it in and they’ll go through every detail making sure that it fires perfectly every time. It has a warranty, they’ll work it for free.

    • avatarDaniel says:

      What makes a review a “real people” review? My EMP 40 has been a wonderful experience, except for the operator issues experienced when I first began to shoot it. Quite often, failure to feed results from operator error as much as we refuse to believe it. Sometimes it’s break-in related, though I personally haven’t had many firearms that I’ve had repeated issues with or issues that were not resolved through improved techniques. Smaller weapons are more prone to holding flaws, however slight they might be. Ammo, residue build up all can contribute. The worst experience I had was with a Sig P232. Had it over 3 years before I sent it to Sig and they replaced the grips, grip screws, a spring or two and it works fine. It was new when I bought it and had issues from day one. But I kept thinking about those who said: give it chance, it needs to break-in. Not saying it may not be the gun, but it could be lots of things. I prefer to eliminate all possibility of my human flaws, maintenance or ammo possibilities first.

  54. avatarcraig says:

    4.5 inch commander?

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