NRA Gun of the Week: Springfield Echelon
This Week's Gun of the Week is the Brand New Echelon from Springfield Armory
The 2023 release of the Echelon pistol represents a wildly different approach to a striker-fired pistol wearing the Springfield Armory banner and crossed-cannon and flaming-bomb logo. While some familiar features are gone, those that it has provide a level of performance not previously seen in the company’s portfolio. Watch the video below to learn all about the striker-fired 9mm Echelon pistol from Springfield Armory.
Like Springfield Armory’s successful lines of XD pistols, the Echelon is made by Croatian manufacturing partner HS Produkt, a company whose mission is the production of innovative designs in world-class, battle-tested firearms. Previous pistols in this Springfield line have long been serving and protecting armed citizens in the United States, and some have been the recipients of prestigious awards such as NRA’s Golden Bullseyes.
The Echelon is a full-size gun that has a modular, self-contained fire-control chassis that is removable for cleaning and maintenance. Springfield calls this serialized component the Central Operating Group, and it houses the trigger, with its blade-in-bow-style safety, a secondary sear to prevent accidental discharge if the gun were to be dropped and a bilateral slide lock. Like its predecessors the Hellcat and Hellcat Pro, the Echelon has no grip safety.
More ambidextrous design comes in the form of a bilateral magazine release and thumbshelves for the support hand, which is a boon to tactical employment of the gun for both left- and right-handed operators. Also, you’ll find wide-cut cocking serrations fore and aft, and “ears” front and rear to aid in slide manipulation. Well-shaped grip contours and stippled sections throughout make the Echelon a user-friendly gun that is easy to shoot well. And replaceable modules and backstraps that can be easily and simply swapped make for a near-custom feel.
At 23.9 ozs., with an empty 17-round flush-fit mag, the gun measures just under 7.5”-long and houses a 4.5” hammer-forged-steel barrel, which in our initial testing has proven itself to be both reliable and accurate. The Echelon comes with a dovetailed Tactical Rack U-Dot rear and tritium dot front sight system for putting rounds on target even in poor light. We found the “ball-and-basket” sight picture fast to acquire yet precise enough for accurate, long-range shooting. Taking the Echelon up a notch is its innovative, optic-mounting solution called the Variable Interface System. It features a series of pins that act as feet, or lugs to secure many of today’s most popular red-dot optics directly to the slide—mounted as low as possible, while maintaining use of the gun’s iron sights.
The Echelon surely shines on paper, but how does it handle on the range? Well, our testers recently put just under 500 rounds through this exact model you see here, without fail. Accuracy at 25 yards with the help of Trijicon’s RMR Type 2 red-dot shows promise that the gun is more than capable as a home defense tool. Our testers particularly enjoyed the gun’s fit. Although the M1911 aficionado may find the grip angle steep, it nevertheless affords a high grip, and the added stippled support pads on both its left and right side, and undercut trigger guard, work in harmony to help the shooter maintain control. In addition, fieldstripping the gun is simple and does not require a trigger pull to separate the slide.
Striker-fired pistols are nothing new from Springfield. In fact, our staff has had extensive use over the last decade with polymer-frame, striker-fired models such as the XD, XDm and XDs-series guns. And the Echelon marks a new generation from Springfield we hope will see line extensions. Expect more testing down the road.
Springfield Armory Echelon Specifications
Importer: Springfield Armory
Manufacturer: HS Produkt (Croatia)
Action Type: recoil-operated, semi-automatic, centerfire pistol
Chambering: 9mm Luger
Barrel: 4.5" hammer-forged steel
Slide: Melonite-finished, machined-steel; optic-ready
Frame: black polymer
Magazine: 17- and 20-round detachable box
Sights: dovetailed Tritium; tactical Rack U-Dot rear, luminescent post front
Trigger: striker-fired, 4-lb., 14-oz. pull
Overall Length: 8"
Weight: 23.9 ozs. empty