by David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
July 31, 2023
Ten days ago, Taran Butler of Taran Tactical Innovations (TTI) published a range demo video of the new Springfield Armory Echelon modular, striker-fired 9mm combat/tactical pistol, and the gun looks gun. Essentially, the Echelon looks like a Glock pistol taken to the next level, a more refined Glock pistol, if you will, with a lot more machine work and attention to detail. Does it shoot any better than an equivalent Glock pistol, DefenseReview (DR) has no idea, as Butler didn’t do a side-by-side shooting comparison…but the Echelon certainly looks solid.
The heart of the the Springfield Armory Echelon is the patent-pending Central Operating Group (COG) trigger module, which is a serialized combination part that can be moved between “grip modules”. Why the end user would want to do that is anyone’s guess, but you can do it. And, that’s not ALL, Monty. The Echelon also sports a patent-pending optics mounting system called the Variable Interface System (VIS). Catchy. The VIS “allows users to mount over 30 optics directly to the slide without the use of adapter plates. Simply configure the self-locking pins for the footprint of your desired optic to achieve a low, direct mount for improved sight picture and intuitive alignment.”
Here’s more on the self-locking front pins of the VIS:
The Variable Interface System (VIS) employs patent-pending self-locking pins to complete the most advanced optics mounting system on the market. As the mounting screws are torqued to spec, the pins exert lateral pressure on the optic’s interior mounting surface to eliminate variance and left/right movement. The result is an unparalleled fit between the slide and a wide variety optics.
Aesthetically, i.e., visually, the Echelon pistol’s most obvious and eye-pleasing component is arguably its slide, including its “trench cut” and flared slide (at the back) that combine to allow for easier slide manipulation and weapons handling. Springfield Armory says the following about the trench cut in the slide:
A trench cut forward of the action gives shooters a natural index location for press checks and charging the firearm. The back of the slide is flared for positive purchase while deep forward and rear serrations are carried through the corners for a firm grip from any angle.
The above is combined with “aggressive forward serrations” for both functionality and aesthetics, to good effect.
The Echelon’s gripframes (or, grip frames) also look well designed, with ambidextrous controls (magazine release and slide stop), “Textured Indexing Points“, an oversized, undercut trigger guard, multiple grip sizes, and adjustable backstraps. The grips’ “Adaptive Grip Texture (AGT)” is also interesting, as it “feels smooth to the touch until you apply pressure and engage the more aggressive texture just below the surface.”
All in all, the new Springfield Armory Echelon 9mm combat/tactical pistol looks impressive, and perhaps the most impressive aspect of it is the fact that Mr. Butler’s impressed with it. In the video below, he’s so impressed with it that he says it looks like it’s likely a pistol worth TTI customizing/optimizing. Butler’s a technical and competitive 3-Gun shooting BEAST (champion, actually), so his opinion really counts.
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