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Gun Review: Springfield Armory EMP4 Lightweight Champion




Gun Review: Springfield Armory EMP4 Lightweight Champion

The 1911 platform is nothing new. And in recent years, it seems as though every gun maker under the sun has given it their best shot at making a new, improved 1911. Each company puts their own twist on them from linkless barrels, to accessory rails. Truly, these handguns have changed over the years.

Springfield Armory EMP4

Furthermore, no longer is John Moses Browning's design confined to the venerable .45 ACP for which the gun was originally built. Nowadays, they can be found chambered in many of the popular cartridges available on the market today—and even some rimmed self-defense cartridges not normally found on semi-autos, like the .357 Magnum.

springfield emp 4

However, this firearm review is based off of a 1911 chambered in 9mm (also available in .40 S&W). Love it or hate it, the 9mm Luger gets the job done and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The Springfield Armory EMP 4 Lightweight Champion is one of the latest editions to this tried and true family. As far as handguns go, this is a beauty.

springfield armory

This Springfield is ideal for concealed carry, and I've been carrying it around with me since they shipped it to me several months ago. As of right now this is my sidearm of choice and I don't want to give this aluminum framed 1911 back. I can honestly say that I'd buy this firearm if I had an extra $1180 (MSRP) just sitting around.

Springfield armory emp 4 1911

There are a couple of things I'm not all that crazy about, though they are far from deal breakers. One thing, for example, is the take-down. While simple, it requires the use of a small “L” shaped tool and there is no getting around having to use it. If you ever find yourself in the field and need to clean your gun, you'll have to improvise another tool out of a paperclip (which I have already done out of necessity).

Springfield armory 1911

Also, while the gun itself looks great I do have concerns that the black finish on the frame won't always look this good. I do see a couple of very tiny spots where shiny aluminum is beginning to show through. Still, the black hardcoat anodized frame, stainless slide, and reddish-colored Cocobolo wood grips look fantastic together.


The grips go great with the black frame. Look closely at the bottom, though, and you may see some aluminum shining through.

The ergonomics are exactly what you'd expect from a 1911 pistol, with the controls in all the right places for medium sized hands. I say it that way because I have huge hands and have to modify my grip to release the magazine. A pain, for sure. But, that's why I train on a weekly basis. Adding to the appeal is a textured surface on the wood grips as well as on the aluminum itself to provide a slip-free surface.

Springfield armory 1911

As usual, Springfield packs the box to the brim with goodies. Included with the EMP 4 Lightweight Champion is the gun, three 10 round magazines, a paddle holster (which works well), a hard carrying case, some tools, some extra fiber optic sights, a mag holster, and a cable lock.

emp 4 lightweight champion

In the paddle holster, which works well for a stock holster

Again, the paddle holster works well which is surprising for a stock one. Often times, they are flimsy, bouncing to the front and back, and from side to side when the person wearing the gun walks around. This, in turn, forces your concealed carry secret to come out into the open. This one however, is solid, stays in place, and protects the trigger quite well. Definitely a nice addition to the gun. Still, if I bought this firearm, I'd eventually go with an aftermarket holster from a different company.

springfield 1911 gear

Holster back

At the range, it should come as no surprise that this EMP 4 is a blast to shoot. Felt recoil is at a minimum on this 31 ounce (empty) gun. The fiber optic front site, combat rear sites, and overall low recoil, allow the shooter to acquire a target quickly while giving the opportunity to get back onto target just as fast. The four inch match grade barrel is accurate right out of the box, offering the ability to accurately place shots on a 9 inch paper plate at 30 yards. The handgun just works well.

fiber optic front sight

fiber optic front sight (through the back)

The gun feels awesome in hand, and does justice to the comfortable grip from the original 1911s. The trigger pull is short, crisp, and without any grittiness whatsoever. And, I'm happy to report that to date, I have 900 rounds of many different kinds of ammunition through it, to include steel cased and reloaded ammo, without a single malfunction. When you're trusting your life to your concealed carry piece, that is all important.

springfield armory emp 4 lightweight champion 1911

up close to the sights

The Springfield Armory EMP 4 Lightweight Champion is one of the latest 1911s to hit the market. It is a blast to shoot, looks great, feels good in hand, is deadly accurate, and is supreme in reliability. Though the price is a bit steep with an MSRP of $1180, it demands serious attention from any sincere 1911 enthusiast. Does this Springfield 1911 get Gun Carrier's stamp of approval? Yes, yes it does.


Bottom of gun

Height: 5.5 Inches

Weight: 31 Ounces (empty)

Barrel: 4 Inch Stainless Steel Match Grade With 1:16 Twist.

Overall Length: 7.5 Inches

Sights: 3 Dot Iron. Front Fiber Optic, And Rear White Dot.

Included Magazines: 3, 10 Round Magazines.

Frame Material: Forged Aluminum Alloy; Hardcoat Anodized.

Slide: Stainless Steel; Satin Finish

springfield armory 1911

Up close of slide


Up close with the trigger

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