First Shots: Springfield Armory Echelon

Here's a closer look at the new Echelon from Springfield Armory.

posted on July 18, 2023

At a recent writer’s event at The Site in Mount Carroll, IL, we had a chance to talk with Mike Humphries, Media Relations Manager for Springfield Armory, about the new Echelon pistol. Designed as a full-size, completely ambidextrous 9 mm handgun with a unique optics-mounting system, the new Echelon has been garnering a good deal of attention since its release last week, and we wanted to take a closer look.

Of especial import is the Variable Interface System (VIS) the Echelon sports on the slide for mounting red-dot optics. Designed as a multiple-optics platform—without using plates, spacers or shims—the VIS has a series of holes and self-locking pins that adapt to the vast majority of the optic footprints currently on the market. This intriguing system allows direct-attachment to the slide for more than 30 different types of optics, all without plates.

We had a chance to try out the Echelon on the range, with numerous shooters putting several hundred rounds through the handgun over the course of the day. No failures of any type were experienced over a variety of ammunition types and shooting styles, and the Echelon proved not only reliable but accurate. Evident in the video is how flat the pistol shoots, without being unduly heavy; the texturing is near-perfect, anchoring the pistol in the hand without being so aggressive it tears up your hands.

Shooting the Echelon, from low ready and also from a N8 Tactical Xecutive holster provided for the event, it achieved one of the highest compliments we can bestow: It was boring. Draw the pistol, aim at the target, pull the trigger, hit the target. Over and over and over. There is no drama, there’s no fuss, it’s like a fork: You pick it up, it works, you put it down. There’s little else you could ask for in a pistol upon which you rely on for self-defense.


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