Springfield DS Prodigy: Post Purchase Thoughts
After the Prodigy's initial release, people were snapping these pistols up as quickly as they could be stocked on the shelf - and honestly, the first reports from shooters could have been more encouraging.
I will tell you upfront; I was worried that my new Springfield 1911 DS Prodigy 4.25" would turn out to be a malfunctioning pile of garbage.
First, let's discuss the considerable excitement surrounding the release of this pistol that caused them to sell so quickly. The Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy promised a Staccato 2011-type firearm at a lower price point that would make it accessible to many people who couldn't justify dropping the cash on an expensive Staccato.
In the 1911 DS Prodigy, Springfield Armory offers the 2011 shooting experience of a double-stack, 9mm, 1911 pattern pistol, with your choice of 5" and 4.25" barrels.
The DS Prodigy ships optics ready, or the pistol can be purchased with an optional Hex Dragonfly red dot optic included. Unique features include a polymer grip module fitted to a weighty, forged lower receiver (with light rail) and an upgraded black Cerakote finish.
As the Prodigy hit the market, early reports on the forums and social media were filled with complaints of FTEs (Failure to Eject). A local friend of mine purchased a 5-inch model of the Prodigy pretty early, and he also ran into some issues.
As a result, some people dumped their Prodigies back on the market, and others sent their pistols to Springfield Armory for warranty work.
There are a couple of things to note with all of this negativity. By all reports, people who had returned their pistols for warranty claims to Springfield Armory received a well-tuned gun when it was returned.
Also, an initial run of these Prodigies hit the shelves, and then the supply dried up for a time. The consensus is that with the second run of Prodigy pistols having hit the shelves, the bugs seemed to have been worked out, and the Prodigy is a pretty damn good running pistol.
The Springfield Prodigy Magazine
The firearm ships with a 17 Round and 20 Round magazine. *There is also an optional 26Rd magazine available.
The magazines are pretty nice looking, stainless steel, finished in a non-reflective matte black, and marked with the Springfield Armory logo and "Duramag Made In USA."
The magazines feature witness holes and callouts with the number of rounds to view how many cartridges are loaded and a black plastic base plate with a little bit of a relief molded into them that seems to aid in gripping the mag if you need to strip it from the gun forcibly, and a black plastic follower.
One issue that I found necessary to point out is the excessive mag-rattling. Once loaded, these magazines rattled a lot - this was very annoying!
I tried unloading and reloading the mags to see if that would help, and the rounds feel tight at the feed lips, but the cartridges in the bottom of the magazines still rattle.
Additionally, I also resorted to "whacking" the magazines on a hard surface, as well, to jar the rounds together. It doesn't help.
Fully loaded magazines will fully seat with the slide forward, but they still required a firm push to ensure they are correctly and fully seated. It was not a problem for me as I came up with shooting on law enforcement ranges. Later, as an instructor, we always taught our students to seat their magazines with gusto!
I did have one of my 17-round magazines accept 18 rounds without a fight - but I did not try loading that into the Prodigy with the slide forward. That being said, the magazines functioned flawlessly during my range session with the Prodigy.
Hitting the Shooting Range
Finally, we get to the GOOD stuff - running some rounds through my 4.25-inch barrel Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy!
I was hitting the firing range with my friend, who would be shooting his 5-inch model Prodigy for the first time since he received it back from Springfield Armory for warranty work.
My buddy and I drove to the Palm Beach County Shooting Sports Complex, a Florida Fish and Wildlife public range facility in Loxahatchee, Florida. The range situation was a little unfortunate, but let's face it - sometimes beggars can't be choosers.
It's a very nice, newer range complex with a great staff. However, because it is a public facility with shooters of all levels of experience, there are some significant limitations on shooting on the pistol ranges.
I was not allowed to fire at a rate of more than one round every two seconds. I was also unable to draw from a holster and fire. And I could not shoot on multiple targets for target transition drills, and these limitations only let me partially explore the capabilities of the Prodigy to its fullest potential.
But, I understand that they have to manage the firing line for the lowest common denominator to ensure everyone's safety.
Ammunition for the day is what I had left in my stock at the house; a mixture of new PMC 9mm 115-grain FMJ, and new Blazer Brass 9mm 115-grain FMJ.
Shooting the Springfield Prodigy
I'm going to skip right to the point here. I loved it! The recoil on the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy is flat - it's a heavy gun that soaks up the recoil nicely. The slide cycles so very smoothly.
The pistol shoots accurately, and shots are repeatable quickly with the mitigated recoil due to its weight. It's a hard gun to not shoot fast - and although I DID get a warning that I was firing more than one round every two seconds and needed to slow my rate of fire - I still enjoyed putting rounds downrange.
The Springfield Prodigy is not a range-plinking toy - it wants to run and run fast! It was frustrating not being able to mag-dump this pistol into one ragged hole on the target because I could feel it was capable of doing that accurately.
I also wanted to run multiple target drills with the gun, as it would excel in this type of combat engagement, especially with the RDS mounted. Ughhhh. Range rules! But I get it.
I have a dirty secret here. I was a little lazy and hadn't cleaned and oiled my Prodigy before I took it to the range. Before heading to the firing range, I field-stripped the DS 1911, inspected it, and noted it was clean and wearing the factory-applied grease.
That's all I did with it pre-range. While shooting the Springfield Prodigy, however, the action was working smoothly and not binding at all. I did arrive at the range prepared with a bottle of lube, just in case I started having any issues running the gun.
But I didn't need it because the Prodigy ran like a champ! The only slight hiccup I felt was that after several hundred rounds of shooting the DS 1911, the factory grease it came with mixed with GSR (gunshot residue), and I could feel the slide of the Prodigy cycling a touch slower. But it still ran!
As mentioned before, the Springfield DS Prodigy comes optional with Springfield Armory's Hex Dragonfly optic. While my 4.25" pistol came equipped with one, I fully intend to change it out for a Holosun 507C when I get the chance.
Regardless, I rough-zeroed the Hex Dragonfly with a laser chamber insert and put it through some rounds at the range. While I find the 3.5 MOA dot to be on the coarse side, it's a fine-functioning RDS (red dot sight) and would most likely serve many shooters well.
I also made an effort to use the iron sights on the Prodigy. The rear sight; a simple, serrated, black notch sight was very effective. The front sight, a ramped blade featuring a green fiber-optic insert, was bright and easy to pick up with the eye.
A word of caution to anybody planning on acquiring one of these guns - make sure you use the included Allen wrench to make sure the rear sight is properly secured before you go shooting with it, as they have been known to come loose from the factory.
This is an easy and simple thing to just double-check! And while my rear sight didn't come loose, my friend with me at the range experienced this exact problem with his 5" Prodigy during this range outing.
That being said, my friend's gun, having just gotten back from having warranty work performed on it, functioned flawlessly other than having the rear sight fall off.
I'm very happy to report that my gun chewed through 600 rounds of ammunition and only generated one complaint from me. And that complaint is that the slide catch lever is terribly difficult to manipulate, even with my long fingers and big hands. It has to go and I will be investigating options to replace it with!
Next for Springfield DS Prodigy
Outside of my one real complaint with the slide catch lever, I love this pistol and its crisp trigger, weight, and balance. I feel confident Springfield Armory has massaged the kinks out of this weapon system, and it's good enough to go into my EDC (everyday carry) rotation.
In the next part of my experience with the DS Prodigy, I will be working on setting it up as an EDC with a weapon-mounted light, Holosun 507C RDS, mag-well funnel, and the most important part of the EDC puzzle; a holster.
Until then, feast your eyes on some additional photos of the Springfield DS Prodigy - a solid 1911 contender as an EDC firearm or duty pistol.