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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.