Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
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Savage has been around since 1894, and in that time, they’ve produced a wide variety of firearms. The modern Savage has mostly been a rifle company, with some shotguns sprinkled in along the way.

Recently Savage has been producing a number of interesting weapons. We have the Impulse, a straight-pull bolt action rifle, the Renegauge, a gas-operated semi-auto rifle. And now we have the Savage Stance, 9mm subcompact pistol.

The Stance is Savage’s first pistol in about 100 years. The old Model 1907 can be considered one of the first microcompacts if we use a loose interpretation of the phrase. The Model 1907 was a weird little gun with some innovative features. The Savage Stance comes much closer to normal than most.

Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
Are single stack 9mms making a comeback? (Travis Pike for TTAG)

It’s a single stack 9mm handgun in the subcompact variety. At its launch, the Stance drew comparisons to the Honor Defense Honor Guard. My local gun store just happened to have an Honor Guard in stock, and I was able to compare the two.

It certainly seems like Savage licensed or purchased the Honor Guard design. The guns aren’t that similar on the outside, but internally, they are almost identical, and the magazines are compatible. Honor Defense had some drop test issues years ago and issued a recall and fix. I’m betting that fix made its way into the Stance. I couldn’t see Savage releasing a pistol with the same issue when a fix already exists.

Inside the Savage Stance

The Savage Stance uses an internal chassis system much like the SIG P250/320 and P365 series of handguns. This chassis is technically the firearm and can be moved between frames and slides easily enough. Savage seems to have some interest in producing new grip modules too. While it hasn’t been confirmed, it seems like Savage plans to produce a railed grip module in the future.

Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
Everything pops in, off, and out with ease. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

It’s a neat concept, and it’s a shame more companies aren’t using the chassis system and producing a wider variety of grip modules for different-sized hands. Heck, it might be possible to produce a true micro-compact style 9mm with a new magazine and grip module using the same chassis and slide.

That’s neither here, but it could possibly be there in the near future. The Stance comes with a flush-fitting seven-round magazine and a slightly extended eight-round magazine. Savage also has a ten-rounder available for the Stance.

Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
The Savage Stance modular fire control unit makes it easy to swap grips. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Users can swap a small and a large grip insert to change the grip size slightly. I preferred the small, even with my big hands. The Stance appears to use GLOCK 43 sights and the sights included are a nice setup. The rear dots are white, while the front dot is bright orange. They are also squared off, and you can rack them off a belt, table, or whatever.

The slide is ported to reduce weight, to add some front grip texture, and to, of course, look cool. Looking cool is half the battle.

Taking a Stance on Ergonomics

I’m a big fan of the Stance’s ergonomics. The grip is very thin and rounded in the right places. You can establish a nice high grip on the gun and the thin portions around the grip make it very comfy. The aggressive texturing does an amazing job of clinging to the hand.

Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
If you want your ergos ambidextrous, here’s a gun for you. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Control-wise everything is ambidextrous. By everything, I mean the slide lock, magazine release, and safety. The manual safety is optional, but I went with it to try it out. The safety is tiny — and I mean tiny — but textured and sized just right for an easy engagement with the thumb.

When I say ambidextrous magazine release, I mean it. It’s not reversible but truly ambidextrous, as is the slide lock. On the subject of slide locks and slide releases, this is purely a slide lock. It’s super-small and dang near flush with the frame. If you like reloading with a slide release, this isn’t the gun for you. The Stance is all about the slingshot method.

Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
The Savage Stance is fairly small and easily concealed. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

That being said, I became a fan of the understated slide locks. Most small guns have their slide locks rendered useless by my rather large thumbs. My thumbs tend to pin them down, and the slide won’t lock back after the last round is fired. That’s not so with the Stance. Since the levers are more set into the frame, my thumbs don’t pin them down, and the slide reliably locks to the rear when the gun’s empty.

At the Range

Two things stand out in shooting the Stance, one good and one bad. Let’s deal with the bad first.

The trigger is not very good. I’ve had worse from guns like the S&W Bodyguard 380, but I’ve had a lot better, too. The Stance has a long, somewhat heavy, and very spongy trigger pull. The reset requires the trigger to move all the way out again. The reset is audible and tactile, but very light in both regards.

Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
The Stance’s trigger is nothing to write home about. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The good news is that the Stance’s grip texture and grip shape do a fantastic job. The gun clings to your hand. The texture is molded 360 degrees around the entire grip, and the little gun stays put inside your hand. Little guns can often shift a little between shots, especially during rapid fire. However, the Stance stays put. Even with sweaty hands, the Stance stays put.

Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
The sight setup is quite nice (Travis Pike for TTAG)

In the accuracy department, the gun does okay. The trigger doesn’t do it any favors, but it’s not bad enough to drive accuracy down the drain. I can produce decent little groups at 15 and even at 25 yards. I can keep a gong swinging for sure.

The Stance’s big sights are quick to acquire, and the front sight is easy to focus on. The front sight is large and it’s perfect for close-quarters use — which is the Stance’s primary function — but doesn’t do wonders at anything beyond 25 yards, not that you’d really expect that.

Savage Arms Stance 9mm Pistol
One of the very few guns out there where the slide actually locks back for a reload. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

In terms of reliability, I’ve run 400 rounds of Global Ordnance 9mm (that’s what I have) with zero problems. It’s all brass cased and high-quality ammo. Sadly, getting a ton of variety of ammo isn’t exactly easy right now. In 400 rounds, I used zero lubrication and never cleaned the gun.

Little Guns, Big Problems

The Stance presents a bit of an interesting problem. It’s a single-stack of 9mm in a world where higher capacity microcompacts rule. It faces an uphill fight for supremacy amongst the more than half dozen smaller guns that hold more ammo. But the Stance is by no means a bad choice, and I hope Savage pushes the modularity hard.

Specifications: Savage Stance 9mm Pistol

Barrel Length: 3.2 inches
Overall Length: 6.2 inches
Weight: 22 Ounces
Capacity: 7 or 8 rounds
MSRP: $479 (about $395 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ergonomics: * * * *
Fully ambidextrous controls, a comfy grip, and a great grip texture. It’s still a small gun, and some are bound to dislike those set-in slide locks.

Accuracy: * * * ½
The sights are great, and it’s accurate enough, but that trigger is a big downside. You won’t miss as long as you can shoot a gun, but you won’t perform any impressive feats either.

Reliability: * * * * * 
Not a single malfunction or issue arose in my testing. The gun goes bang when you want it to.

Overall: * * * ½
It’s not a perfect gun, but the Stance is a strong first showing from Savage. It’s reliable and ergonomically very good. I hope they push the platform’s modularity to make the gun more customizable. Also, please, someone clean up the trigger.



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  1. $400 gets you : No rail, No optics cut, crappy trigger, poor round capacity (and 8 rounder sticks out an additional 3/4″), slide has cartoon cuts, poor track record based on previous maker – whose claim to fame was veteran built… good luck.

  2. A day late and a dollar short. Should have introduced this 15-20 years ago if they wanted a chance. Savage, Remington and Mossberg should stick to things they know and are known for….long guns.

      • KELTEC and SCCY are both U.S. built I believe. Not that either are known for their fantastic triggers, but a new offering from savage needs to either be priced to actually compete with say a Ruger EC9, and/or take glock mags. Seriously. Why do these off brand small companies not build around a known, readily available magazine?

    • Hey, thanks alot stEXAS… looks like you goaded him back into using his Little Tykes phone agin’. Just couldn’t leave well enough alone?

  3. I like the gun looks and its chassis design. The trigger pull and long reset is a problem. The reset being the bigger problem to correct. Even though the gun functioned reliably out of the box it has bugs to work out. Without ever having one in hand the Tauras G3 is ahead especially with its lower price.

    • For real, back when the M&P Sheild came out and was ground breaking. Now we have the third geno of the Shield that is compensated and holds 10 rounds in the same size platform. I don’t understand what was going on in Savage when they decided this was a good deal.

  4. The Savage and Mossberg pistols interest me simply because of how many years it has been that these gunmakers have been out of that game. I am tempted to buy one of each.

    My gun budget these days amounts to whatever points I’ve saved up on my Cabelas/Bass Pro credit card. So it does make me space things out, but hey it ain’t as if these stores have much else I am into.

    The Mossy has been out a while now. Wonder how that one’s doing? Have to look up some recent reviews.

    Maybe the Savage in another 12 months!

  5. Seems a decent enough design, but as others have pointed out, it’s a bit behind the curve in terms of the current standard for market offerings. And while street price is appealing, but it’s a crowded market. Taurus and some other budget brands can match or beat it at sticker price, and for $100-$150 more, there are more established offerings with more in the way of aftermarket support.

    It’s not always enough to be good, you gotta be better than the competition or at least offer something they don’t.

  6. It’s March 1; not April 1.

    Wait – are these guys unironically releasing a 22 oz single stack pistol in today’s market?

  7. How have we gotten this far without a “they just bought out Honor Defense and rebranded it” post? Honor Defense went out of business for a reason.

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  9. Compared to Taurus for less money a poor choice.
    For about the same price or less if you are lucky you will find a SIG P365 one hell of a better pistol in every way. Have seen Honor Guard for sale new in box for $199 they are a drug on the market. Too bad they missed a chance to bring out something decent. Shield Plus about the same price, much better gun. Basing my opinion on the Honor Guard which the Savage seems to mimic. Or perhaps Savage purchased the machinery. Smith’s EZ Rack 9 much better choice for older peeps as well- and about the same price or less!

    • Me first, if the 45acp version is this much of an anvil i’m the first in line. I love Savage firearms man my experiences with their reliability have kept me coming back ever since i was stupid enough to sell my (handed down and never shot from my grandfather) savage model 99 in 300 savage. I was headed out for a tdy and sold that rifle for 300bucks like a moron. I can’t find one mint like mine was for less than 2grand now and most people simply won’t sell one if they own one. The trigger on this pistol is definitely not my fav but i’m a 1911 guy anyways an no glock trigger has ever had me impressed either and my m@p shield has a trigger dam near the same pull 5.5lbs for both. They say the new m@p is bad to the bone but it’s more dough and there’s no way it’s any more reliable than perfect, the way this savage is, to each his own but i’m buying American when ever possible, and savage when ever i’m looking again.

    • I agree ray, the more i practice with this pistol the more i like it. I got real quick with it in drills and i’m a great shot with it. The most important thing to me is reliability for edc which i nearly always choose revolvers until i bought this pistol. I’am very impressed by it’s lack of ammo sensitivity which always pissed me of with semi auto’s because i reload and have for decades. I also own an m@p shield and though it’s not the newer 2.0 it’s not as accurate as my stance not as comfortable in the hand and easy to grip, and the m@p’s sights suck by comparison. I have always had an ammo sensitivity issue with the m@p that doesn’t exist with this one. I can’t believe how similar the frames and barrels are though, it almost looks like the same gun that has been onced over. Love it or hate it it is a reliable edc pistol and i do shoot it well.

  10. Check out Savage Axis series. In 2018 I bought one chambered in .30 – 06 . . . Also I was lucky enough to find one in a nice rosewood finish. Have not seen one in a finish like that since I bought the gun.

  11. In a world of subcompacts with at least 10+1 capacity, Svage comes out with its first handgun in 100 years with a capacity of 7+1 and a msrp of $479. What were they thinking, if anything?

    • Comes with a 10rd mag now and i’m telling you it is indeed an improved honor guard, the trigger loosens up nicely and it is crazy reliable, this thing eats anything and never chokes, the big plus for me? I shoot this pistol very well and its super easy to snatch up fast. I get its not for everybody and it could be better but i own more than a few much more expensive pistols that all atleast have a ammo hickup here and there, not this thing even if you mix the magazines with different ammo types. It is strickly for carry for me and i like the fact that you must be deliberate with it(safeties) when it’s pointed at my balls all day. I practice with it and i wouldn’t want to be the meffer who breaks into my home because this thing isn’t gonna fail.

  12. My local shop has the Stance at $299 but I was told I could get it for $280+tax. I have a Taurus G3c that has been perfect, so I don’t know.


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