The 911 Vintage Blue .380, with its robin’s eggshell blue frame, faux ivory grip and brightly polished stainless steel slide, reminds me of a classic 1955 Chevy Belair two-tone. Not an original ’55 Chevy as Chevrolet envisioned it and your great grandfather drove, but a highly modified customized performance version with just enough cosmetic touches to make it look retro cool. Inside, however, this is The Fast and the Furious version, tuned for performance.
The 911 solves the micro-compact problem often faced: small size, tiny controls and difficulty in operation. The Springfield 911 in .380 ACP has features you’d expect on a full-size pistol. The sights are Pro-Glo with a tritium green-dot front sight and a white-dot tritium rear. These are full-size pistol sights that greatly increase the usability of the tiny 911. I like the contrasting colors of the dots and larger dot on the front sight. It makes target acquisition much faster. The edge of the rear sight allows the user to rack the slide with one hand if needed.
The slide serrations are also large and provide plenty of traction and grip to rack the slide. The 7-round magazine comes with a polymer finger extension and makes the pistol feel like a full-size handgun. I conceal carry the 911 with the flush-fit 6-round magazine and curl my small finger under the butt.
The 911 is also set up like a 1911, but why is that important? The 1911 is an easy platform to shoot accurately. The single-action trigger is much easier to press, and the cocked hammer provides a visual clue the pistol is ready to fire. The aluminum trigger is serrated so your finger stays in place. There is about 1/8″ take-up then a fairly crisp break. The 1911-style thumb safety is ambidextrous and easy to manipulate even though it is shrunk is size from the typical 1911. The slide stop is also resized and makes a good hold point for the support hand for a right-handed user. The grip angle also helps make this peewee size pistol perform.
The pistol’s grip panels are smooth G10 made to look like faux ivory. The front grip strap has a texture that makes gripping the 911 a pleasant experience, even when cranking through a magazine of ammo. The rear grip strap (or mainspring housing) is polished aluminum with the same type of texture.
The magazine release looks like a full-size 1911 magazine release button. When pressed it jettisons the empty magazine with authority.
Springfield Armory 911 Specifications
Here are the specs on the Springfield 911 pistol:
|Sights||Tritium luminescent front, tritium rear|
|Capacity||6+1 (one), 7+1 (one)|
With all that I’ve said about the 911 have big-gun features, it still is a pocket pistol. Springfield Armory ships the 911 Vintage in a soft side nylon zipper case that also holds a holster. The pocket holster has a rubbery exterior so it stays put in your pocket and hides the 911 from printing. I easily dropped the 911 Vintage Blue and holster in the cargo pocket as well as the regular pocket of my pants and it carried well. Remember, it’s only 12 ounces unloaded — and that’s with the metal frame. I also carried it appendix style, cocked and locked and found it comfortable to carry all day.
So, where the rubber hits the road with 911 and any sub-compact pistol for that matter is in use. I gathered some FMJ training ammo and HP defense ammo and ran the 911 at 15 yards. This is a soft-shooting .380 with a nice trigger and sights that make it easy to use well. My best group with the training ammo was with MagTech loaded with 95-gr. FMJs. This load gave me a best 5-shot group that measured 1.18″. Yes, I was using my range bag as a rest. The Tula steel-case training ammo came in a close second with a best group that measured 1.19″. That’s great accuracy for such a diminutive pistol.
The defense load was Speer Gold Dot with a 90-gr. GDHP bullet. My best group with the Gold Dot load measured 2.34″. Nice. On average the ammo tested gave me 1.4″ to 2.6″ groups. Those group sizes are what I usually shoot with a full-size pistol. Like I said, the 911 has the performance built in. I didn’t have any on hand, but I’d like to test the 380 Hydra Shok load as well.
Slow shooting for accuracy is one measurement of performance. It’s another to shoot fast and accurately. There is a lot to be said about how a single-action trigger makes it easier to more accurately shoot a pistol, and in the 911 the trigger is king. The trigger, sights and grip really allow you to control this small pistol. It is forgiving, too. I fired it as fast and as furious as I could and was still able to control it and consistently hit center of mass. The trigger reset is short and though the trigger breaks at five pounds, it feels much less. The longer 7-round magazine with the finger grip offers the best control. The trade-off is the shorter 6-round flush-fit magazine offers a smaller size for easier conceal carry.
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase: “If looks could kill.” After handling and shooting the 911 Vintage Blue, I’d rephrase this expression to: “If looks could defend.” This is not a .380 ACP Cerakoted with the latest shade from Maybelline. This 911 is a serious pocket pistol design for conceal carry, not just another pretty face.
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