Not being a company that rests on its laurels, Springfield Armory introduced a new pistol line — the Garrison — in November 2021. The initial line consisted of two .45 ACP-chambered, full-sized 1911s. Both guns were all-forged steel, with one rendered entirely in stainless steel and the other all-carbon steel with a classic hot-salt blued finish. I requested the carbon steel Garrison and was happily surprised to learn Springfield Armory would be introducing the 1911 in 9mm chambering. The company sent both carbon- and stainless-steel samples my way as well!
Springfield Garrison Is Beautifully Rendered
The new Garrison pistols fall between the Springfield Mil-Spec line on the lower end and the 1911 Loaded line directly above it. These firearms can be seen as replacements for the now-discontinued Range Officer series. The Garrisons feature just about everything the average shooter would desire, without anything that could be considered superfluous.
Specs for both the blued and stainless-steel Springfield Armory Garrison 1911s:
Weight: 37.6 ounces
Barrel: 5-inch stainless steel match-grade finished bright/lowered ejection port
Overall length: 8.6 inches
Height: 5.5 inches
Magazine: 8-round stainless
Grips: Dark brown checkered thinline double-diamond wood with Springfield Armory logo — wood type unspecified
Mainspring Housing: Flat checkered
Grip Safety: Beavertail with bump
Sights: Low profile three-dot combat
Thumb safety: Extended/ left side only
Slide release: Standard
Magazine release and mag well: Standard
Recoil system: GI-style with stainless steel barrel bushing
Trigger: Three-hole skeletonized with overtravel adjustment; pull weight 4 pounds, 3.2 ounces average
Out of the Box
The Garrison more than looks good; it feels great. And it is ready to go right out of the box. The thinline grips are perfect. Sometimes referred to as “old slabsides,” 1911s aren’t known for feeling “trim.” But handling the Garrisons, I immediately noticed the trim feel of the grip. And my hand could encircle them due to the thinline grips and the flat mainspring housing.
The 9mm cartridge is shorter than the .45 ACP. Actually, it is too short for proper operation in a 1911 pistol without modification — particularly modification of the magazine. In fact, the 9mm magazine is the same design as a .38 Super except for the addition of an internal spacer at the rear. This forces the bullets’ noses to the front of the magazine so they can engage the feed ramp as the pistol cycles. Three staking marks can be found at the rear on both sides of the magazine to hold the internal spacer in place. The 9mm magazine holds eight rounds. Only one is included with the gun, but Springfield offers spares, and any full-sized 9mm magazine for the 1911 will work fine in the Garrison pistols.
Garrison at the Range
I tested the carbon steel Garrison first, saving the stainless-steel model for later. The trigger pull averages just 4 pounds, 3.2 ounces, according to my trigger gauge. There was just a bit of slack and no overtravel. The marvelous trigger of a 1911 is why so many shooters favor it. Nothing else compares.
I used Magtech’s 115-grain FMJ 9mm FMJ practice loads rated at 1,135 feet per second with 329 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The magazine was easy to load up to its full eight-round capacity. And the slide was very easy to retract for chambering the first round, which glided into place when I released the slide. I moved back to 30 feet for my test firing.
The combat sights aligned nicely as I started applying pressure on the trigger. Touching off the first round reminded me how smooth an all-steel pistol with a full-length slide and barrel runs compared to compact models. The slide cycled like it was running on ball bearings.
Recoil was a gentle nudge and easily soaked up by the weight of the Garrison. The Magtech 115-grain loading is relatively mild. Muzzle blast was not a concern as powder burn is much more complete in a 5-inch barrel than it is in a 3.5-inch barrel.
Superb 1911 from Springfield
The sights were dead on. My first four shots fell into one ragged hold in the orange X-ring of the B-27 target I was using. Giddy with excitement, I started watching the last four shots land instead of focusing on the front sight. The last four rounds opened the group up from the original 1 inch to a still very nice 1.5 inches. The match-grade barrel and excellent trigger performed as designed.
The next group fired from the same distance resulted in six rounds in a 1.5-inch cluster. I again watched the last two rounds land and opened the group up to 2.5 inches. For the last rounds, I settled into a one-hand combat stance to improve my focus. I fired a six-round magazine into a 2.25-inch group centered in the head. This is frankly amazing accuracy from a factory-produced pistol with a factory-produced price. And of course, there was no thought of a malfunction.
The Springfield Armory blued carbon steel 9mm Garrison pistol is simply superb and a joy to shoot. It would be a great pistol to use for introducing a novice shooter to centerfire pistol shooting. Just make sure you wipe the blued surfaces with a lightly oiled cloth after use. The MSRP of the Garrison Carbon Steel Blued 1911 is $849.
Springfield Armory: Springfield-Armory.com
Magtech Ammunition: MagtechAmmunition.com