Springfield Armory Levels Up with Echelon Series of 9mm Pistols (Video)

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“Duty Pistol” has become the modern gun manufacturer’s catchphrase for a durable, reliable handgun suited to everyday carry by the non-LE or military market. The thinking goes, if it’s good enough for the rigors of duty carry, it’s good enough for CCW.  

Don’t let that fool you when Springfield Armory talks about the new 9mm Echelon pistol as a “duty gun.” This is a case where the claims are backed up by the performance.  

On the outside, it’s easy to write off the Echelon as a run-of-the-mill polymer-framed striker gun, but that would be a mistake. The real power of this new platform lies in its advanced design and intelligent adaptability.  

Let’s start with the Central Operating Group or COG. This is the true gun in the eyes of the ATF. It’s completely removable and swappable from frame to frame, allowing users to set up their Echelon to their hands or mission needs. While we’ve seen other takes on this design, Springfield Armory has improved on the concept by making it fully drop-safe while still maintaining an excellent trigger.  

The grip modules also show advanced thinking in that the Echelon grips not only allow for different sizes but also feature interchangeable backstraps. This additional level of adjustability makes the Echelon the precision rifle of the handgun world, with each pistol tailored to the user. 

From there, the Echelon continues to showcase what I call intelligent adaptability. Rather than design the gun to show off its ability, the designers at Springfield Armory looked at the current environment and what handgun users wanted. That, by any measure of the market, is the ability to mount a red dot.  

While this capability is not new, what is innovative and novel to the Echelon is the way it goes about it. A series of pins and slots called the Variable Interface System (or VIS) are machined into the top of the slide, allowing users to mount almost any brand or model of red dot directly to the slide without the need for adapter plates. Direct mounting offers a ton of advantages, including less sight offset (the distance of the dot over the barrel), easier ability to co-witness iron sights, and an overall sturdier attachment. 

Available in a base iron sight version, the Echelon also comes versions with night sights and threaded barrels. A 17- and an extended 20-round magazine come included where legal. Two sight variants are available: the aforementioned 3-dot tritium night sights and the tactical U-Notch rear sight with a tritium ring front sight.  

Fully ambidextrous, the Echelon has an Adaptive Grip Texture to ensure a solid firing grip, even with wet hands or gloves. An oversized trigger guard keeps gloves from getting in the way, while textured index points help shooters naturally assume an optimal grip.  

From a visual standpoint, the most dynamic feature is the tapered slide profile. The sides are machined from the forward trench ahead of the ejection port to help with press checks and holstering, while a flare at the rear of the slide assists with solid grips when cycling the slide manually.  

With an MSRP starting at $679 for the base model and going up to $739 for the threaded barrel version, the Springfield Armory Echelon makes a great option among its concealed carry peers. With features like the COG and VIS taking handgun innovation to the next step, the Echelon looks to be the start of a new generation of polymer striker guns.  

Springfield Armory’s New Echelon™ 9mm Handgun: Stainless Steel Chassis & Revolutionary Optics Mount. Buy it on GunBroker.com.

Features of Springfield Armory Echelon:

  • CENTRAL OPERATING GROUP: The all-new Central Operating Group (COG) is self-contained and serialized, providing a robust housing for the patent-pending operating system. 
  • TRITIUM U-DOT SIGHTS: The tritium-powered U-Dot sight picture of the Echelon is intuitive, accurate, and fast. 
  • VARIABLE INTERFACE SYSTEM: By utilizing a set of movable pins, the Variable Interface System (VIS) on the Echelon achieves a low, direct-mount optics solution for improved sight picture and intuitive alignment. 
  • HANDGUN CASE INCLUDED: A double-zipper case is included with each Springfield Armory handgun. The soft-sided shell protects the firearm and mounted accessories during transportation, while an interior pouch can hold an additional magazine.

Springfield Armory Echelon Specs:

  • CALIBER: 9mm 
  • COLOR: Black 
  • Barrel: 4.5” or 5.28″ Threaded (.5 x 28), Hammer-Forged Steel, Melonite® Finish, 1:10
  • SLIDE: Billet Machined, Melonite® Finish, Optics Ready 
  • FRAME: Black Polymer 
  • SIGHTS: Tritium/Luminescent Front, Tactical Rack U-Dot™ Rear 
  • RECOIL SYSTEM: Captive 
  • GRIP WIDTH: 1.2” 
  • MAGAZINES: (1) 17-Round, (1) 20-Round, or (2) 10-Round for Compliant States
  • WEIGHT: 23.9 oz w/ Flush Mag, 24.3 oz w/ Extended Mag 
  • LENGTH: 8” Standard Barrel, 8.8” Threaded Barrel
  • HEIGHT: 5.5” w/ Flush Mag, 6.5” w/ Extended Mag 
  • SKU: EC9459B-U 

Springfield Echelon Comparison Table

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